Date: 4/1/17 4:43 am From: Kirk Roth <kirkleeroth...> Subject: [IN-BIRD-L] Re: SPRUCE GROUSE @ Pigeon River
In memory of Jim Haw and the best April Fools bird report I'd ever seen, this is from 2002:
Went to Pigeon River FWA at dawn on a beautiful April 1 to look for Ruffed Grouse, a species that is extirpated or almost extirpated there. Pigeon River is the only place that Ruffed Grouse have been found in northeast Indiana in the last 30 years.
I was bushwhacking off trail in Pigeon River's Tamarack Bog Nature Preserve (sorry, I cannot give good directions because I don't know exactly where I was) when I spotted the unmistakeable form of a grouse standing on a fallen log. The bird seemed a little small for a Ruffed, and as I slowly approached, the bird's field marks--black tail with reddish tip, black throat and breast, red comb over eye--revealed that I was looking at a stunning rarity--a male Spruce Grouse! Although it eyed me nervously, it did not move away. This typically unwary behavior is responsible for the Spruce Grouse's nickname, Fool Hen.
I cannot explain this bird's presence so far south of its range. There are no previous Indiana records of Spruce Grouse, and its occurrence here is most unexpected. However, we now have our first state record of an April Fool Hen.