1 March 2017 Winter Strategies of Ruffed Grouse in a Mixed Northern Forest
Bernd Heinrich
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I examined behavioral flexibility with respect to potentially conflicting demands of Bonasa umbellus L. (Ruffed Grouse) adapted to winter conditions in a mixed forest of western Maine. At the beginning of winter, during the first snow of 15 cm, the grouse roosted overnight 2–4 m above ground in dense stands of conifers. After 40 cm of snow depth, they dove into the snow in flight in open areas of deciduous forest and tunneled, at varying angles and distances from the entrance approach, to den at night and most of the day. With new snow on top of packed snow near the end of winter, they switched tactics again and rested and spent the overnight hours in snow molds on the ground under cover of conifer branches or against tree trunks. The 3 behaviors are discussed in the context of winter diet and anti-predation strategies.

Bernd Heinrich "Winter Strategies of Ruffed Grouse in a Mixed Northern Forest," Northeastern Naturalist 24(sp7), (1 March 2017). https://doi.org/10.1656/045.024.s708
Published: 1 March 2017
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