Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Berries and Birds?

  1. #1
    Member Rising_Creek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    190

    Default Berries and Birds?

    I went blueberry picking this weekend. I was in a valley above tree line with loads of berries. Can this type of area produce birds? Do ptarmigan eat the high alpine berry patches?

    Do grouse eat the cranberries in the woods or mostly spruce needles? They few I've taken have only had gizzards full of needles. Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Member AKtrpr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    75

    Default

    Creek, the answer to both your questions is yes.

    Ptarmigan and grouse can be found above the treeline in the alpine areas, but I,ve only seen a few grouse as mentioned but way many more Ptarmies. So far the season I've busted 5 ruffed grouse and 5 spruce grouse, all of them have had their crops full of blueberries, rose hips and of course lignon berries(cranberries). The birds are still in their family groups as of yet So I only take one or two out of a family group, plus the young'ins are still pretty pin feathery and have not filled out as of yet. So I would say if your in an area with the berries then you should come across some grouse, dont know much about the sharptails but I have bagged a few, but they were in an area I manily find sprucies and ruffs.... Matbe someone else on here can elaborate more on the sharptail's habitat more than me. good luck

  3. #3
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default

    I haven't chased ptarmigan and only killed a few while hunting other species so don't honestly know their habits that much. Yes grouse will eat the berries and tend to prefer it while they are ripe then switch to needles in the fall. Lots of people don't see grouse early in south central because they only look in spruce trees for them. I have an area where I hunt that they fly out into a big bog and eat the bog blueberries then come back and roost high up in some birch trees along a ridge. I am always hunting moose out there but I have seen 20-30 birds come out of the bog one at a time early in the morning. It is kind of funny to see them come winging in at mach 3 and more crash than land up high in the trees like that. Even when you watch them do it they can still be challenging to spot when they are roosted 30' up!!

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Creek, I shot 4 willow ptarmigan in an alpine valley in Southcentral on Saturday. The valley was full of blueberries, and sure enough, the birds' crops were full of blueberries (along with some leaves and buds). Look for alpine berry patches with some cover (shrub birch and willow) and you should find ptarmigan. But they do move around a lot and you may have to cover some ground. Some days I get into multiple coveys in just a mile or two, other days I can hike 3-4 miles and not see a bird.

  5. #5
    Member Rising_Creek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska, United States
    Posts
    190

    Default

    Thanks for the feedback. I am going to try and bust 'em in the berry patches!

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    975

    Default

    Ptarmigan certainly do eat blueberries. They eat them in the fall, and will search out the freeze dried blueberries exposed by high winds during late winter and spring. To some extent, the same can be said of sharp-tailed grouse in certain areas.

    Ruffed grouse enjoy ripe cranberries and green leafy material. Spruce grouse will also eat cranberries and green leafy material, but turn to spruce needles toward the latter part of September, long before they need to. Sharp-tailed grouse enjoy grasshoppers, green leafy material and kinickinik (sp) berries.

    Trouble with trying to link ptarmigan to blueberries is that blueberries, like ptarmigan, can be found anywhere!

    Jim

  7. #7
    Member Hoyt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks
    Posts
    1,154

    Default

    Both Ruffies I took today, had crops full of cranberries!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •