I keep trying to get some decent pix of the birds in our yard, but it’s just too darn cold to go outside and hunker down long enough for them to come back and settle (besides which, I’d end up with two screaming babies in the house! lol), so you’ll have to settle for the pix through the double-paned, steamy glass.
Earlier in the winter, I’d started using a couple of yellow sleds to put the bird seed in, but I’ve long since stopped because they get buried too deep in the snow and are too hard to pull out. This was taken just after we’d liberally sprinkled striped sunflower seeds all over the yard. The Evening Grosbeaks are opportunistic visitors and had to show up for the treat. The Grouse live in our yard, but are hard to get pix of because they are always in the shade.
We have decided that these are Ruffed Grouse and not Spruce Grouse. Maybe someone can confirm our guess? Up here, there are all called Prairie Chickens, but according to the books we have, and the pix, that isn’t what they really are.
This is our usual view through the kitchen window. See the ice at the bottom? If you look over to just under the trees, you can see four other grouse clumped together.
So far, I haven’t seen any male coloration, so I’m looking forward to the Spring and hoping I will be priveleged enough to witness the lek. While trying to identify the bird, we’ve noticed you can see the spotted coloration on the back, but you ususally can’t see the banding on the tail feathers. They have a white stripe through their eyes. They also have a ruff on their head and one that they raise on their neck when it it really cold outside. Their chests are stripey — browns and greys. They also fly, but unlike the other birds, they just hop up into the nearest tree and stay very close to the food source. All they other birds fly away.
For me, the most amazing thing they do is bury themselves in the snow. They are very quick. I kept wondering why one minute I’d be clicking away and see one bird, then refocus and there would be three. Then wubby got home and the dogs got out and I witnessed them burying themselves to hide from the dogs! It was so fast and so effective! The dogs were such idiots looking and smelling and giving up so quickly.
Anyway, I know these aren’t the greatest pix ever, but I really enjoy having these grouse on our property and would love if anyone could confirm that they are ruffed grouse for us.