Monday, April 5, 2010

Booming Prairie Chickens

I had an unexpected surprise and opportunity on Easter Morning! It was something I had on my list of things to do in April. I got an invitation to go to Buena Vista Grasslands to see the Prairie Chickens Boom. This booming is created by sucking air into the two orange sacks on either side of their neck. This mating ritual and the booming sound and other sqacks they let out attract the females and then the males fight and defend their territory. Females choose the most impressive male during this time to mate with. We saw only 7 birds; they were all male. I might try to go back in another week or two and see if I'm lucky enough to see the actual mating take place.

We had to stay inside blinds the entire time. We woke up about 3:30 and left on our way at 4AM. Got there and with flashlights and forehead lights we walked about 1/2 mile in the dark to the blink area. It wasn't really that dark as we had clear sky and most of the moon shining down. One of the guys who I went with is a very serious and professional photographer and had made a motion detecting camera and brought his own blind so his 8 to 10 inch lens could fit through an opening. He had a 500MM lens with a tele-converter on. I was impressed but when I picked up his tripod with camera on it; the weight would kill me; it was very heavy, and the desire to have one quickly went away. Don't get me wrong, I still want a new and more powerful zoom lens, just not that big. Might settle for the 400MM or even 300 with t tele-converter.

So here are a few of my best shots...These were taken just as the sun was rising. I did take a video with my camera's as well, but I'm not sure how to reduce the file size and get that posted. I'll play and see if I can get it up here soon.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Nothing wrong with YOUR photos! I love the color of those boomers. Our sage hens are not as bright but they do gather, dance and boom.