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on Apr 16, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

Jumping for Spring!

Gtr Prairie Chickens
captured by D5 / 800mm

There are many celebrations in nature announcing the coming of spring. One of my favorites is that of the Greater Prairie Chickens. Looking at the image above, it would appear they are jumping for joy with the passing of snow and the coming of green grass and warmer days. And while they are celebrating spring, their jumping has nothing to do with joy!

Gtr Prairie Chickens
captured by D5 / 800mm

The Chickens come together for a short period, about a month, on a lek, to get lucky. Arriving on the Lek in the dark, they establish small territories then perform their hearts out to attract a female to the territory. And if another male should come close to that territory, the fights begin. It’s true chicken fights with biting, scratching, kicking and tackles all part of the fight trying to make the opponent look unworthy of a mate. Now I call it getting lucky because to our eyes, it never seems to ever work as copulation is never seen on the lek. But a celebration it is for 90 minutes each morning during that month as they are jumping for spring!

Note: Shooting, the only challenge is keeping up with the birds (and working in the blind)! Shooting with the D5 / 800mm, the Auto Area AF takes care of focus and with it being dark, raising the ISO takes care of the rest.

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