abc
QUICK LINKS:

Inside the Blind: Sharp-tailed Grouse Show Off Their Moves

Updated: 05/01/2014 10:49 PM
Created: 05/01/2014 3:40 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson

The Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area in northwest Wisconsin contains a globally rare habitat, the pine barrens. The rare habitat also offers a rare sight of sharp-tailed grouse doing their flamboyant mating dance.  

Sitting in the blind before the sun is up, Eyewitness News anxiously waited for some action. But it wasn't long before the male sharp-tails fill the dance floor.

"They challenge each other a little and they kind of attract the females to come in and the girls kind of pick out, 'oh, I like that one and, no, I don't like that one,'" said Mark Nupen, president of the Friends of the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area.

Sometimes, it takes a while for the ladies to show up. In the meantime, the guys spar a little bit, they gobble, they coo, sometimes they just stare at each other, but mostly, they show off their dance moves.

Nupen describes it as a "comical robot dance." 

Their dancing didn't do it for the ladies on rainy Thursday, but Nupen said the males will be back.

Nupen said the area is truly unique, and the Wisconsin DNR calls it one of the best places to see sharp-tail dance.

The habitat is sandy, full of brush, and renewed every five to six years by burning. It's called the sand or pine barrens.

The sand barrens used to cover much of the state, today, Nupen said, about one-percent of the habitat remains.

"The plants and animals are different because of that. There are flowers that you don't find in the wooded areas the, sharp-tail you don't find in the wooded areas," he explained.

But now, the wildlife area is getting a bit more acreage.

1,400 more acres has been preserved thanks to a partnership among the DNR, the Conservation Fund and several regional contributors. The DNR said grants from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, through Walmart’s Acres for America program, paid for the $1-plus million price tag from a timber company. 

"This is huge. Basically it's 30-percent more land of pine oak barrens, so the increase is just going to be felt immensely by the wildlife," said DNR wildlife biologist, Nancy Christel.

With the addition of the new land, the Namekagon Barrens now sits at 6,500 acres.

The DNR said more land ensures that the ecologically significant habitat can thrive and "sharp-tailed grouse can continue to dance each spring."

Front Page

  • Update: Teen Killed in Douglas Co. Crash

    The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says a Lake Nebagamon teenager was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Wednesday afternoon.  15-year-old Seth N. Stariah, a passenger in one of the vehicles, was pronounced dead at the scene.

  • Workers at the NOvA hall in Ash River assemble the final block of the far detector in early February 2014, with the nearly completed detector in the background. U of M Reaches Milestone with Ash River Neutrino Detector

    The University of Minnesota is celebrating a milestone in creating an experimental particle detector that it says could eventually yield important information about the beginning of the universe.

  • Missing Employee Found at Soudan Underground Mine State Park

    Authorities have located 76-year-old Adrienne De Vries at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. De Vries is an employee of the park, and lost her way when walking down a trail. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department says she was transported to Ely Hospital to get checked as a precautionary.

  • Sky High: Northlanders Blast Off on New Flyboard

    Here in the Northland, we're used to lakes, but a new toy is changing how we enjoy the water. The flyboard is making its Twin Ports debut. It's a water jet pack on a board that is hooked up to a jet ski. The water launches you up to 55 feet in the air.

  • Democrats Vying for Wisconsin's 25th Senate District Talk Mining

    Mining is a top issue in northern Wisconsin's legislative races, and a formal debate Wednesday night was no exception. Three democrats vying for the 25th Senate District seat explained their views during a public debate at the Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland.

 
Advertisement