Spruce Grouse

One of my favorite things to do in the early spring is to go in search of Spruce Grouse.

They tend to get frisky in the spring and you’re more likely to find one.

grouse,spruce

Spruce Grouse

I found this very cooperative female last weekend.

grouse,spruce rufuos tail tips

Spruce Grouse showing rufuos tail tips

A very good field mark on the Spruce Grouse is the rufous colored tips on it’s tail. Both males and females have this characteristic.

Cornucopia of Feathers

Cornucopia of Feathers

She let me follow her into the woods where she jumped up on a stump and started preening. This photo reminds me of a Cornucopia – it’d make a good Thanksgiving picture.

Spruce Grouse

Spruce Grouse

According to my Sibley Guide, there are two color morphs for the Spruce Grouse. A red version and a gray version. It says you can only tell on the female Grouse. I wonder if this would be a Red Morph or a combination of the two. Her throat feathers are really a reddish brown.

Spruce Grouse with full crop

Spruce Grouse with full crop

She relaxed and you could see she had just filled up her crop that morning with a fresh supply of Jack Pine needles. Spruce Grouse have an extra pouch in their throat where they can store excess needles for digesting later.

 

 

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