Oct 22-11

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2011: October: Oct 22-11
All puffed up    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Laurie Bashaw
Looking for dinner    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Laurie Bashaw
Hidden    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Laurie Bashaw

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 07:59 am:

When Laurie Bashaw looked out her kitchen window recently, she was surprised to see a small flock of ruffed grouse or what us Yoopers call, partridge. So she grabbed her camera and started shooting them, through the window. How neat that one of the males decided to puff up his feathers, either to make himself more attractive to the females in the group or to warn off another male. Laurie said there had to be at least seven there in her yard. I've seen one or two together, but never that many at once. What a special treat this was, to be able to capture them with her camera.

I found some tidbits of information about these birds that you might find interesting:

- They spend most of their time on the ground
- They seldom fly more than a couple hundred yards, but can hover and make complete turns in the air when flying through thick brush
- They do not migrate; spend their entire lives within a few acres
- In fall, they grow fleshy bristles (called pectinations) along the sides of their toes which act like snowshoes to help the birds travel over snow. Pectinations are shed in spring
- Males make drumming sounds with their wings to attract females and warn off other males

Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 08:01 am:

Nice bird photos. Thanks 4 sharing.

By Therese (Therese) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 08:58 am:

Was walking the woods years ago with my
brother's very gentle Golden Retriever
Tara, and came upon a male grouse
strutting on a downed tree with females
watching. The girls saw us first and slunk
away into the underbrush. The cock
continued his strut, reached the far end
of the log and started back. When he
reached this end he came beak to nose
with Tara, who sniffed him gently. The
cock deflated, tucked his head down and
scooted into the underbrush. Tara came
nose to nose with a skunk once, gently
nuzzled her and walked away unsprayed.
A remarkable dog.

By sometimesyooper (Nancyd) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 09:10 am:

I've seen grouse but never been able to get a decent photo before they scoot off. I have a couple of their tail feathers. Thanks for these.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 10:37 am:

Those are such awesome pictures!!! Laurie is so lucky to have all that wildlife right there in her yard.

By Diane C. Price (Czepyhashroom) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 10:48 am:

Nice photos and facts, I've learned something today, thanks!

Enjoy your weekend everybody...

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 10:49 am:

Are these birds the same, or kin to the Wyoming prairie chickens? We would see them occasionally alongside the roads, but were never fortunate to see one all puffed out. Having no first-hand knowledge, but was told these birds also puffed out their neck or jaws? Capt. Paul?

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 11:25 am:

Great pics and thanks for the info, too. Never knew all that. ;)

By Donna (Donna) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 12:35 pm:

I'm with everyone else..thanks for these pics AND the info....

(P.S. They taste like chicken....)

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 02:45 pm:

What fantastic photos, Laurie. I've never seen a puffed up male
partridge in person, though I have seen quite a few partridges
hanging out together.

By JH (Thumbgardener) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 05:02 pm:

Donna, they taste better than chicken.

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 05:14 pm:

The great photo above is a Grey Phase Ruffed Grouse, the most common. There is a less common "red" phase whereas the tail and most body feathers are a rufous or rust color. Michigan is home to two other Grouse species, The Sharp-tailed Grouse and the Spruce Grouse both found mostly in the eastern UP. There are scattered places where the Spruce Grouse are still in the NLP. I saw one recently along Old 27 in Roscommon county near the Clare county line. The last holdout known of the Sharp-tails in the NLP was in Kalkaska & Missaukee countys but none have been seen there in some years. Prarie Chickens are a different species altogether and used to be native in Michigan but have disappeared from MI long ago. Does anyone remember the feature here on Pasty-Cam some time back with Rick Baetsen and friend with a Ruffed Grouse eating from his hand?

Years ago while doing field work for the first MI Breeding Bird Atlas I was walking thru some heavy Ferns in Crawford county near Grayling when I stumbled on a mom Ruffed Grouse and her babys. The young ones scattered off into the ferns and mom fanned out her tail, came at me, pummeled me and chased me all the way to the 2 track where our car was. Syl was sitting in the car watching this laughing hysterically!

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 05:19 pm:

*"Prairie" Chickens

Yes Grouse I think taste better then chicken and even better then Pheasant!

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 08:02 pm:

Nice photos, we've seen a female displaying just today. On another note, we substitute grouse in our chicken recipes and have had gouse fajitas, grouse with morels, and grouse with chickpeas or garbanzos and tomatoes and a multitude of others, all good. Today it was two grouse breasts covered with chopped rosemary and then skin from some chicken thighs (they were needed boneless and skinless in another recipe) with roasted potatoes and red kuri squash. MMMmmm good.

By JH (Thumbgardener) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 08:15 pm:

Richard, that sounds so good! What time is dinner tomorrow?

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 08:36 pm:

That bird looks like the queen at a royal wedding, but our bird looks better.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 09:20 pm:

The Dr. and I can attest to the quality of the grouse that comes from the Barclay kitchen..... ;-)

By Bob Gilreath (Bobg252) on Monday, October 24, 2011 - 10:29 am:

I saw 2 in my backyard this weekend also, and have left over grouse stew in my lunch today ;-)

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