August 24 – THE LAST TANGO

I was surprised the other day to see this mating display by a male blue grouse. It seems awfully late in the summer for him to be performing his ballet. (I’ll have to ask my friend Ben, the upland bird biologist.) I went looking for the grouse again this morning, and found only a few feathers. I assume I was not the only one to notice his performance. The short list of likely suspects: goshawk, lynx, coyote.


I’ve always been fascinated by “distraction displays,” or what my nerdy wildlife biologist friends call paratrepsis. I saw this female blue grouse on my morning walk. When she realized that the lupine wasn’t hiding her from me, she feigned being injured, and hobbled erratically downhill, leading me away from her chicks. (Or is it groslings?)