02 May 2011

Greater Chicken Run...COLORADO (1 May)





After the Lesser Prairie-Chickens had thrilled us in the far SE of the state the day before, we awoke before an extremely chilly dawn in the NE of Colorado on a ranch, ready for more chicken action. This time though it was the "booming" Greater Prairie-Chickens that were to put on a phenomenal show for us. We positioned our car as we'd been instructed during an absorbing speech by the owner of the ranch, and waited for light to hit the ground. Before the rays of sunlight lit up an extraordinary scene all around our vehicle, we heard the strange moaning booms, cackles, gurgling, and noisy flapping of wings that betrayed the presence of these strange birds all around us. The show that unfolded surpassed even the one from the day before, as upward of 32 males strutted, raised their feathered horns, glared angrily at each other, and even fought with each other intermittently. All this went on and a female did not even show up! A lot of effort for these male chickens for little return it seems. They puffed themselves up to make themselves look large and formidable, suddenly possessed horns, flared up their orange-colored fleshy eyebrows and flared out their fiery peach-like skin sacs on the sides of their throats that looked stunning in the early morning sunlight that warmed our chilled bones. A truly awe-inspiring sight. We left dazzled and frazzled from all the action and then went on to the Ptarmigan mentioned in my earlier post-what a day!

Next up yet another Colorado chicken show...

3 comments:

Mary said...

Sounds like your day on the Colorado ranch...love Colorado too...turned out delightful. These images are really wonderful. Their displays are something to see, I have been told and your captures show this as fact!

Penny said...

Your experience has peaked my curiosity! We are planning a trip to Denver/ Estes Park Colorado in September, I am assuming there will be no fighting chickens in the fall...
Thank you for keeping your website, I love seeing the photos, and because I live in Southeast Texas, I especially monitor your sight and tweets for High Island activity.

Sam Woods said...

Sadly chickens do not really lek in the fall. I have heard that occasionally they do, although never in quite the extremes as they do in springtime.