Date: 1/11/21 12:06 pm From: Alfred Maley <alfredmaley...> Subject: [NHBirds] 23 Spruce Grouse in the Baraga Plains
OK, it’s not NH, so sue me. An observer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
recently reported finding 23 Spruce Grouse in a 200 yard stretch along a
rural road near Baraga, MI. He speculated that they were there for easy
access to grit in the form of the sand put down by road crews.
I once found six Spruce Grouse in the Kirtland’s Warbler area near Mio,
MI.I had stopped by an extensive jack pine stand to look for Black-backed
Woodpecker, but when I discovered grouse tracks I went in search of the
makers. There were three species possibilities. It was not until today that
I realized why they might have been so close to that road.
The suspension of territoriality by Spruce Grouse in winter allows them to
concentrate on eating. They consume prodigious quantities of the buds of
jack pine, spruce and fir. They are one of the few bird species to GAIN
weight in wintertime.
This suggests that observers in both New Hampshire and Maine may want to
investigate grouse habitat close to grit sources.