About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bird of the Week: Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) are year-round residents in Michigan’s forests and woodlands and have the biggest range of all North American grouse species.

Fun Facts:

- In the winter, Ruffed Grouse grow temporary scales on the sides of their feet to act as snowshoes.
-  The grouse's cryptic coloration (patterning of light and dark on the feathers) and slow, deliberate walk make them virtually invisible.
- The state bird of Pennsylvania, the ruffed grouse gets its name from the tufts of black feathers on its neck, which are raised into a ruff by the male during its courtship display.
- The alternate, irregular dark and light markings on the tail feathers of the ruffed grouse is unique to each bird.
- Unlike other grouse species, the Ruffed Grouse relies entirely on a non-vocal acoustic display, known as drumming. In the spring, males drum their wings to produce a series of deep thumping sounds that increase in tempo.
- Their population fluctuates depending on the Snowshoe Hare population. Hares seem to be a favorite of predators but if there are fewer bunnies to eat the grouse become alternate prey.

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