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1 January 1998 Raising and Monitoring Tame Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) for Field Studies
Peter B. Sharpe, Alan Woolf, Daniel D. Roby
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Abstract

Tame birds have been used for ecological field studies, but rarely are birds >8 wk old used. To our knowledge, no previous study has successfully released and monitored tame ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) >14 wk old. We report here the techniques used to raise ruffed grouse from eggs collected in the wild and from pen-reared birds to obtain tame birds up to 1.5 yr old that were released and monitored in the wild. Birds were raised with either intensive imprinting (10–24 h/day of human contact) or nonintensive imprinting (<2 h/day of human contact) during the 1st 7–8 wk after hatching. We released 10 ruffed grouse, one at a time, in southern Illinois during the winters of 1990 and 1991. The first four birds released were killed by predators within 1 wk, but allowed us to modify our observation techniques to reduce the stress on released birds and maintain their tameness. Of the remaining six birds, five (four juvenile, one adult) were released in clear-cuts in the Shawnee National Forest, Union County, Illinois, and successfully monitored from February to April 1990 and November 1990 to March 1991. We were equally successful in releasing and observing ruffed grouse that were intensively and nonintensively imprinted, suggesting that long hours of contact with young birds are not necessary to obtain observable birds in the wild. Time-activity budgets, habitat use and forage selection of the tame birds were also similar to those reported for wild ruffed grouse. We believe that the use of tame birds is a feasible method for collecting data on ruffed grouse ecology and may be used to evaluate forage and habitat quality where introductions are proposed or to be evaluated.

Peter B. Sharpe, Alan Woolf, and Daniel D. Roby "Raising and Monitoring Tame Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) for Field Studies," The American Midland Naturalist 139(1), 39-48, (1 January 1998). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(1998)139[0039:RAMTRG]2.0.CO;2
Received: 20 January 1997; Accepted: 1 June 1997; Published: 1 January 1998
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