Where Do Grouse Go To Survive The Winter?


Itchin to pull the trigger
Nov 18, 2005
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Communist Republic of California
A good place to spend winter

Wildlife prefers to spend winter near or in a spruce swamp or balsam fur thicket. Here the temperature is 20 or 30 degrees warmer than the open country and the winds are 70 percent less. In these places we are apt to see deer, snowshoe hares, re squirrels, ruffed grouse, chickadees, gray jays and woodpeckers.

Ruffed grouse fare well during winter

Ruffed grouse are snow roosters. When the weather gets very cold and the snow is at least 10 inches deep, they dive down in to the snow and make a burrow where they can be cozy and warm. The temperature in the roost is seldom less than 20 degrees. A grouse may spend several days in his roost if the weather is too cold. When he is in his roost or burrow he is free from predators. Ruffed grouse are well adapted to the Northwoods. They have their burrows and when they are hungry they fly up into the trees and satisfy their hunger by eating the flower buds of the male aspen trees.

Fool hens

Each winter, a few spruce grouse are seen in the Northwoods. Because they are quite tame - whirring up to the nearest limb to crane their necks naively at an intruder - the old time lumberjacks called them fool hens.

Spruce grouse are the least known of our native, northern birds. By 1900, Wisconsin's population had dwindled to only a few birds because of logging, forest fires and hunting.

Smaller than ruffed grouse, spruce grouse are a dusky gray. The male has a sharply defined breast and white barred sides. He boast a pair of red eyebrows. The female is brown and heavily barred. Both sexes have chest nut tipped tails.

Spruce grouse live in the evergreen trees, feeding on the needles and buds of pine, spruce, balsam and tamarack trees. This gives their flesh and unpalatable resinous flavor, especially in winter.

Good News

After months of government sponsored monitoring this year in the United States and Canada, involving the testing of more than 15,000 birds, not one wild migratory bird has been found carrying the worrisome highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus.

The low pathogenic form of the virus was found in two Mute Swans in Michigan and in Mallards in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Low pathogenic H5N1 is not a health hazard to people and causes at most mild sickness in birds.