Wednesday, September 24, 2008


These birds certainly earned their nickname of "fool hen". The first one I saw on the wolf tracking was silhouetted against the road a couple hundred feet in front of us. It stayed there in plain sight until we were within a few feet when it finally moved off the road towards its chicks. Of course we would never have known the chicks were there if it had just faded into the woods after it had seen us initially.

Two more times that trip I was alerted to their presence by either the hen or one of the chicks moving or clucking as I got close to them. That seems a bit more forgiveable since they were at least in the woods and difficult to see. They probably would have been better off if they were still and silent there though. It makes me wonder how they manage to survive, and also if they are more successful than I realize - perhaps I passed near many more grouse families without ever realizing it.

I was out in the cascades last week and we saw a couple sets of grouse there, the young seemed to be nearly full-sized, but had a bit of fuzziness on their heads still. Unfortunately I was unable to get any pictures as my camera battery had run down by that point.

I'm not certain as to which species of grouse this is, most of the pictures I found of various species that would be around here did not look quite the same, but my best guess at the moment is Spruce Grouse (Dendragapus canadensis).


Anonymous said...

bgcaukHey Johnathan! Good to hear from you! Liz here and my question is...Where was that/those photos taken? Could it be a sharptailed grouse? Liz (tracking club and REI acorn mystery table)

Jonathan said...

Hey Liz,

Thanks for posting.

These pictures were taken in Central Idaho. From the range map I found it appears that it would be a little out of the range for sharp-tailed but possible. The pictures I was able to find (though most of the ones I found were of males) didn't look quite like this one to me. Are there any particular characteristics you are seeing to make you think it might be a sharp-tailed?

connor said...

how did you find them . the chick is cote.

rowan said...

I Like the photo .

Jonathan said...

Glad you guys like it. I found them when I was wandering around in the woods and saw them move.