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Grouse Nature Study December 12, 2023

Grouse Nature Study December 12, 2023

Grouse Nature Study December 12, 2023

Grouse

It was a late October morning when I glanced up to my vegetable garden and noticed that the branches of a wild roses bush were bobbing up and down.  I keep the wild roses in the upper part of the fenced garden to prevent the deer from eating the roses so that I can collect the hips to make jelly in the fall.  The hips started disappearing before my eyes.  Then I noticed the head of a Ruffed grouse bobbing up and down and pecking the hips gently of the branches.  I got my share of the hips as did the grouse.  They competed with the robins for the Mountain Ash berries.  A group of 4 have spent November and December foraging in the yard.  And though I have not seen them for a while I found their tracks in the dusting of snow that recently fell.

We have four species that are common in our area.  They are often seen when walking in forested or grassland areas and even on the roadsides.  Sometimes they do not fly up or move until you are almost upon them, startling both birds and walkers.

Ruffed Grouse

Free Ruffed Grouse Partridge photo and picture

Free Bird Beak photo and picture

Living mostly in forested areas especially near water sources.  The male is often heard in the spring by a loud drumming sound it creates by beating his wings very quickly.

Dusky Grouse

Free Dusky Grouse Bird photo and picture

Though common in the Cariboo I have encountered the Dusky Grouse more frequently in the Chilcotin.  Note the males’ darker colour and fleshy red patch surrounded by white feathers when he puffs up his neck calling his “Oop Oop” sound to encourage a mate.

Spruce Grouse

Free Bird Grouse photo and picture

Free Bird 4K Wallpaper photo and picture

Note the red eyebrow comb and white markings on the male.  Females of many grouse species are similar in appearance.

Sharp-tailed Grouse

a brown and black bird sitting on the ground

Free Sharp-Tailed Grouse Grouse photo and picture

Her long neck and up right stance make her easy to identify.  The males sharp pointed white tail and red eyebrow comb makes this grouse stand out.  They are open upland birds.  Males gather in “leks” in the spring, these areas are dry dusty ground trampled down by the birds, where the males create elaborate courtship displays.

Grouse Tracks

Grouse Tracks

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