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Hart Mountain Lek Monitoring

September 3, 2019

$65 – $75

This is one of Oregon Natural Desert Association’s volunteer work trips! View the entire event calendar here

“Leks” are locations where groups of male sage-grouse return year after year to “strut their stuff” in the hopes of attracting a mate.  To the human eye the lek sites really don’t look all that different from the surrounding sagebrush, but sage-grouse have no trouble finding them year after year. ONDA volunteers will locate the leks via GPS coordinates provided by Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge staff as well as following the unmistakable sounds the birds make during the mating ritual. There are about 52 known leks on the Refuge, but volunteers will be focusing on a fewer specific “trend leks” used for annual monitoring. Collecting data at the leks allows the Refuge to document population trends on Hart Mountain NAR.  Considering that a large proportion of data collection work is done entirely by volunteers, it’s easy to understand why ONDA’s involvement is so vital. At over 280,000 acres and with only two full-time staff, Hart Mountain NAR needs all the volunteer assistance it can get.

Participants will work in groups of 2 or 3 for both safety reasons as well as the benefits of having more than one person to take turns with different tasks such as using the spotting scope or recording the data. Groups will drive from the bunkhouse in separate vehicles to the point on the road closest to the lek. Then, using GPS units to navigate cross-country in the dark, volunteers will hike to their designated lek observation point being careful of unseen hazards such as brush and uneven terrain along the way. Once relatively close to the lek, volunteers will be able to use the unique sounds that the male sage-grouse make to zero in on the lek. As day breaks, volunteers will use spotting scopes (provided by Refuge and ONDA) to count the number of individual males and females.


Deschutes Brewery
(541) 382-9242
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Deschutes Brewery Public House
1044 NW Bond St
Bend, OR 97701 United States
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