Like gyms or bars, lekking grounds are social performance spaces, where males spread their tail-feathers, inflate their impressive chests, and strut about, calling amorously to the lady birds. Ecologist Gail Patricelli of UC Davis captured this video of a lek near Hudson, Wyoming. US Fish and Wildlife Service named the grouse’s habitat, the Great Plains sage-steppe, one of the most imperiled ecosystems in America.
Yellowstone National Park is home to more than 1,350 species of vascular plants and numerous species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds—not to mention the natural landmarks such as Old Faithful Geyser. Among the inhabitants of Yellowstone is the famous quaking aspen, a deciduous tree that has significantly declined in the park since the 20th Century, due in large part to elk grazing.