Grouse camouflage


January seems to be the month to get a picture of a perfectly camouflaged Ruffed Grouse — or not.

This grouse actually has rather good camouflage, but only in other seasons when, by moving ever so slowly through the brush, its mottled plumage blends beautifully with the foliage and dappled patches of sunlight and shade.

On a field of snow, however, the grouse is just comical as it tries to pass unnoticed by walking excruciatingly slowly. 

Confident that its camouflage renders it invisible, a Ruffed Grouse creeps across a field of snow.

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6 Responses to Grouse camouflage

  1. Karen Pidcock says:

    I love these birds, even if they always appear to be having a “bad hair day”. They are the “startlers”, flushing when we’re practically upon them, & so many times alarming me to their presence! Friends who lived in Kaslo a couple decades ago experienced one they dubbed “Rufous” who’d come to his rocky ledge outside the kitchen window seeming to perform for the woman of the couple each time she appeared at the window. This behaviour continued for months, until Rufous was found dead. How it delighted my friends, & saddened them to lose it!

    • Alistair says:

      Karen, about its bad hair day: This bird raised its crest in response to my presence. The crest is normally raised whenever it is either concerned or sexually aroused. In this case, I think we can confidently eliminate the latter condition.

  2. Scott O'Donnell says:

    Fantastic shot! I wonder what happened to it’s tail.

    • Alistair says:

      Scott, I had not previously seen a grouse’s tail spread in this way.

      I have just been told by someone who should know that the tail suffers from “Wetness!! Note leg feathers the same!”

  3. Grace says:

    Alistair I want to thank you for sharing your amazing photos, informative and entertaining presentation at LIR on Friday. Even though I follow your blog it was such a treat to see your photos on a big screen.

    Thank you

    • Alistair says:

      Grace, thank you for saying so. I had prepared that presentation for last summer’s Science in the Park (Kokanee Creek). It was fun to give a slightly updated version for Learning in Retirement last Friday. As I expect no further invitations, that is probably that for the presentation.

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