Ruffed Grouse

Leon Lorenz
Ruffed Grouse

For an observant naturalist soft snow can make an ideal canvas for identifying many wildlife species including gender and size, what they had eaten, where they had slept, direction of travel, were they hunting or fleeing for their lives, how much time had elapsed since they were there and so much more.

Here this hole tells me that a ruffed grouse had spent the night snuggled down in a snow cave to keep warm for the night and in the morning it flew off leaving telltale wing marks to finish the picture. I've witnessed them bombing into the snow for the night and also exploding from their snowy beds, the most memorable was when I was a boy snowshoeing along one morning when suddenly three grouse rocketed off from just a few feet away with snow flying and wings whirling.

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