Ruffed Grouse colors
Hey gang, thought I'd start a new thread so that I can go to the other one for pictures and frustrate myself during these non-season months.
I just received my free copy of "The Grouse and Ptarmigan of Alaska" from ADFG last week. I doubt they would be offended that I copy the following exerpt regarding ruffed grouse colors in Alaska;
"Ruffed grouse come in two color tones: red (actually rufous or reddish brown) and gray phases. Red-phase individuals in Alaska are not as richly colored as those from the eastern United States, but the back, and particularly the tail, are definitely reddish brown. Gray-phase birds have distinctly gray tail and rump feathers, paler bodies, and only a hint of light brown feathers along their sides. Both color types can occur in one family group. Scientists in Minnesota now believe that the gray birds have the advantage over the red ones whenever snow is on the ground for long periods every winter, since gray birds appear to be the least susceptible to predation. This may explain why the gray-phase ruffed grouse dominate in Alaska."
I received my copy free upon request and Mr. Raymond Johnson was the gentlemen that shipped it out. Contact me if you want his email or just look him up in the state employee directory.
The link below was a news bulletin announcing the revised booklet I reference above. It is a nice write up and a good little homage to Bob Weeden and his personality and exemplary work for the small game of Alaska.
Ruffed grouse feather colors vary considerably, and I find this to be a good thing. Each one is gorgeous in its own way. I have boxes filled with them 'cause I tend to save each one and have been known to even keep them from road killed birds. If a tail fan gets ruined in some fashion I still keep the individual tail feathers and have used them as book marks for many years. When doing book signings I let folks pick a feather to use as a bookmark.
In addition to what ADF&G's booklet says, also take note of the many different colors of the actual ruff. I particularly like the chocolate colored ruffs. And some birds are a bit of a mixture of colors.
Have I ever said how I love ruffed grouse?