Alex Marks: Thanks for a great show of natural wonder
A few weeks ago, I was part of a group who participated in the Sagebrush Safari: Greater Sage Grouse Lek Tour hosted by Conservation Colorado. Our mission was to not only increase awareness of the beauty and majesty of the greater sage-grouse, but also their plight as an imperiled species, as well as their importance as an alarm to the destruction of the sagebrush habitat.
I for one had always dreamed of seeing this majestic bird in its famous mating ritual, and was privileged enough to be given the opportunity by the conservation community and the town of Craig make my dream come true. However, little did we know that we would also be treated as theater guests to one of the natural world’s greatest performances.
Many members of our group, including myself, came from all corners of the state of Colorado, had never been to Craig, or seen the storied sage grouse in its natural habitat. Once we made the trek to the blind and viewing area of the lek, we waited like eager theater patrons for the curtain to be raised for a stage show, and once the curtain was drawn, the star attractions were already in full show.
Although you could not see them at first, the sounds they made were mesmerizing, and were in perfect rhythmic sequence. As the sun rose, we could see them in all their wonder, without showing any unrest over their observers. We even had the privilege of watching the supporting cast include deer, pronghorn antelope and one very menacing hawk who seemed to happily take on the role as the villain in its attempts to dishearten the main attraction. But all in all, it was a wondrous performance that rivaled the best on Broadway.
So, all of this is just to say thank you. Thank you for conserving the wildlife with which we share our country’s beautiful western landscape, and thank you for welcoming us to Craig, Colorado and your natural theater. I hope to be able to see next year the same cast and crew that puts forth such a moving performance.
Alex Marks, Evergreen
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