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Ruffed Grouse: Splendid Drummer

One of nature's percussionists!

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 a mate. The name "Ruffed" derives from the male's long neck feathers which, in display to the female, flex outward to form a thick neck ruff. Watch a video.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Ruffed Grouse: Splendid Drummer

Written by Bob Sundstrom
 
This is BirdNote!
[Male Ruffed Grouse drumming]
Imagine this – you’re at the edge of a young deciduous or coniferous forest, especially one dominated by aspen and poplar. And you’re hearing this accelerating, thumping sound. What’s going on in there? Is somebody starting up an engine?
[Male Ruffed Grouse drumming]
 Well, what you’re hearing is a male Ruffed Grouse, performing his drumming display. He’s the size and shape of a large, rusty-brown chicken, and he’s standing on a resonant, fallen log in the shelter of a brushy thicket. He’s thumping the air with his wings. He raises them and—cupping them forward—beats the air, slowly at first, then faster and faster, creating a reverberating drum roll.
[Male Ruffed Grouse drumming]
Drumming announces a male’s territory and his desire for a mate. The Ruffed Grouse takes its name from the male’s long neck feathers which—in display to the female—flex outward to form a thick neck-ruff.
The Ruffed Grouse is typically a shy denizen of the forest. But this time of year, he’s a star percussionist in nature’s symphony.
[Male Ruffed Grouse drumming]
You can take a peek at a Ruffed Grouse and hear his drumming again, by coming to birdnote.org. I’m Michael Stein.
###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by R.S. Little. Background sounds of a forest in Maine recorded by G.F. Budney.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org            May 2010
ID# 062606RUGRKPLU       RUGR-01b


 

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