Prairie chickens dance at Switzer Ranch

In making my reservation  for the Audubon Crane Fest this year I signed up for the Calamus Outfitters Prairie Chicken Tour on the Switzer Ranch at  Calamus, NE.  On a gray morning my tour companions and I boarded an old school bus to travel to the prairie chicken lek, or “booming grounds.”  We sat quietly in the converted school bus blinds listening to the sounds of the prairie coming to life on this grey morning.

As the scene slightly brightened,  a couple dozen male greater prairie chickens not very gracefully flew into the lek or mating area.  The booming and calling commenced as rival birds strutted and challenged to establish dominance.   As two and then three hens arrived the activity increased as the males danced, boomed and strutted in a frenzy to gain the attention of the females.

All in all I highly recommend a stay at Calamus Outfitters and tours to the prairie chicken and  Sharp-tailed Grouse leks.