Over here, we have the winner for the season. I mean this guy, this sage-grouse. He’s surrounded by females. There have gotta be, I don’t know, 20-30 females around him right now and you can see other males in the background with none around. I mean, they’ll be lucky to get one mating. Most of them, most of them will get none. He can mate with all these females today. Oh you can see she’s soliciting there, puts her wings out to the side and basically says “you’re the one.” He’s been out here for a month, as have all those other guys you can see in the background, but he’s the one who’s gonna mate with all these females today. He’s the elite male. There might be two of them on the lek, who are going to get 75 percent of the matings. And by the end of the season, he may have mated with 60 females. Each clutch might be seven eggs, fifty females–you do the math. That’s a lot. But what is it, what is it about this male? You know he’s coming in here every day and he’s working really hard. He manages to hold weight and keep his energy up. It’s not pacing himself, it’s just that he can. His neighbors who still look like they’re going at it, those guys have lost weight, they’re having a hard time doing it. He’s one of the few males out there who can just keep doing it and those are the good genes that those females are picking out. It’s because each of those females can all choose the same male that we have such extreme sexual selection. He does no parental care. All he does is provide genes to the next generation so if they all like his genes, then they’ll all look like him next year, and again and again and then you get these super-tuned, highly amazing displays.

End of transcript

Only a couple of male Greater Sage-Grouse on the lek have what it takes to impress the females. Glimpse a day in the life of an elite male.

Climb into a blind with biologist Marc Dantzker to get a first hand look at the drama that unfolds each year on a Greater Sage-Grouse lek.