Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse - picture timeThe most fun bird of the day last Saturday was definitely the Ruffed Grouse.  We flushed it into the net at the 2nd to the last net check…  Tom was quick to get it contained and in the hand.  I wish I had been carrying my camera during net check, but alas.

Tom does not have a permit to target game birds for banding.  But since his study is to monitor all avian activity at the Sanctuary, he was able to band this.  (The same loophole applied last year when we banded the Woodcock…  Click here for that story.)

The new Pyle guide for bird banders did not specify which size band to use… so Tom had to measure using a leg gauge.

Ruffed Grouse - fitting


Jordon and Tom band:  it takes 4 hands!
Ruffed Grouse - banding

Head shot:
Ruffed Grouse - Head

Wing:  interesting shape!
Ruffed Grouse - wing

Tail:  such gorgeous colors.
Ruffed Grouse - Tail

Brood Patch:  Are those new feathers coming in?
Ruffed Grouse - Brood Patch

They say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush:
Ruffed Grouse - in the hands
In our case, a bird in the hand was worth (at least) three in the bush.  Several were disturbed as we walked by… Only this one made it into the net.

That was pretty cool…

11 thoughts on “Ruffed Grouse

  1. Oooh! What a beautiful bird! When would we ever have a chance to see a grouse up so close? I hear them often and sometimes see a blur of a bird as they flush, but what a treat to see its lovely feathers. And BROOD SPOT! Wow! Thanks for sharing these photos with us.

  2. What a pretty bird! Are they currently in the upward or downward population cycle in your area?
    I don’t think they have an upward cycle here in SE Minnesota anymoreas we haven’t heard on drumming in the woods for many years.

  3. @ RuthieJ:
    I dunno… I see them (sort of) all the time when I’m hiking and flush them and they scare the heck out of me and fly away! Heard them drumming when I took my backpacking trip, too.

  4. These photos are wonderful. Thank you for publishing them.

    I am a nature writer. I write the text and create the artwork for interpretive panels and wayside exhibits that get installed in parks and preserves throughout western states. My passion is to educate the public about just the kinds of thing you are doing.

    I also am keeping an almost daily diary with photos of a den of gray foxes that live beneath my cabin. These little guys are very different from the red fox you might be more familiar with. Check them out on my blog:

    And please visit my website to view my interpretive panels:

    Best Wishes,


  5. What a neat capture! I’ve often hoped to get one in the nets, but have never been lucky enough.

    I notice Tom banded it, which surprised me. I thought you needed a special permit in order to band game birds, like you do to band hummingbirds, although I could easily be wrong (or Tom could have one). I’d always expected to have to let the grouse go unbanded if we got it.

    Looks like the whole bird is in moult. I wonder if they’re like ducks, in that they moult on the breeding grounds in summer – if she’s tending flightless chicks, it’d be as good a time as any, since they wouldn’t be able to fly anywhere with her anyway.

  6. Tom would need a special permit to target game birds for banding. But this is MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) and this bird is breeding in his territory (as was the Woodcock), so he figured it was OK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s