20b gypsum further up trail

SNAP*Shot: Dusky Grouse

dusky grouse male

Dusky Grouse are so interesting and this year I had an up-close and personal encounter. These birds, about the size of a chicken and weighing up to three pounds, would rather walk than fly. Best known by locals for scaring the daylights out of you since they wait until you are about two feet away then fly up in a rapid, flurried take off. Yikes, my heart! Here we have a male in full mating display last June, too busy courting to bother with us. He struts and hops with tail raised and fanned, neck feathers spread revealing his bright skin patch, loud wing thumping, and making a deep wump-wump-wump, a sound that can be heard great distances by springtime hikers walking through the forest.

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