The Nationwide Audubon Society, the nation’s main fowl conservation nonprofit, named six photographers within the 10th annual Audubon Pictures Awards at present. Amongst them is Pinedale photographer Elizabeth Boehm, who gained the Skilled class together with her picture of two lekking Better Sage Grouse.
The picture was taken in Pinedale and shall be featured on the biennial Audubon Conference this month, in Audubon journal, Nature’s Finest Pictures journal, and in a touring Audubon Pictures Wards exhibit throughout the nation.
The profitable photographers have been chosen from 2,253 entrants from all 50 states, Washington D.C., and 10 Canadian provinces and territories. Boehm’s picture of lekking grouse captures a part of a singular and uncommon springtime mating ritual that few individuals get the prospect to see — puffed chests, spiked feathers, and seemingly choreographed motion makes for fairly the spectacle. However earlier than the dance, male sage grouse typically compete for the most effective spot on what’s often known as a “lek” so the feminine birds can see them.
“I spend a number of cold spring mornings photographing the courting display of the Greater Sage Grouse from a blind on the perimeter of the lek,” Boehm wrote on Facebook. “I watch for the dominance fights between males. The two contestants sit side-by-side until, upon some invisible cue, they suddenly throw blows, hitting each other with their wings. The photo, captured on hard snowpack, shows the power they exhibit when they are fighting for mates.”
Better Sage grouse typically carry out the unusual mating dance early within the morning for a couple of brief weeks a 12 months, so it’s a uncommon phenomenon to witness. Sage Grouse additionally solely stay in sagebrush territory within the Western U.S. and are quickly dropping habitat to farmland and overgrazing.