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Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)

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Ruffed Grouse: Splendid Drummer

The male Ruffed Grouse stands on a resonant fallen log in the shelter of a brushy thicket, thumping the air with his wings. He raises them and - cupping them forward - beats the air, slowly at first, then faster, creating a reverberating drum roll. This announces his territory and his desire for... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

The Drumming of the Ruffed Grouse

A male Ruffed Grouse performs his drumming display on a resonant, fallen log in the shelter of a brushy thicket in the forest. Drumming announces a male's territory and his desire for a mate. Ruffed Grouse thrive in young forests. Wildfires once created that type of habitat. Today, wise forest... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display, sound

Ruffed Grouse and Aspen Groves

In spring, the loud wing-thumping of male Ruffed Grouse brings new life to northern forests across the continent. These handsome, wily birds reside in the forest year round. And while their numbers rise and fall cyclically, they average nearly seven million. Still, Audubon lists Ruffed Grouse... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  breeding display

A Different Drumming

The drumming of the male Ruffed Grouse is one of the most evocative sounds of the North American forest. Familiar as these accelerating burps are to hunters and hikers, the origin of this bizarre sound was long a mystery. It took the advent of wildlife cinematography to solve the riddle. In the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  sound
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