Sighted: Blue Grouse

The blue grouse (dendrapagus) breeds at the edge of conifer forests in high and mid mountain areas.

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One of BC’s legendary upland game birds, the male blue grouse has a “ventriloquisitic courtship call” that can be heard for miles.

BC has over 50% of the world’s population of blue grouse.

For most of the year blue grouse live in coniferous forests feeding exclusively on evergreen needles. In July the cock birds will migrate from the breeding location, usually uphill if it is an open slash area. The hen with her brood remain in open areas feeding on berries and plants until early in September. At that time, usually following an intense late summer storm, leading her brood, she will begin a slow migration towards a heavily forested area. The movement of one group often triggers other family groups who will join with the first creating an immense flock of migrating birds. The migration may take a few days depending on a number of factors, including weather, distance and food. Should you chance upon these migrating flocks it will be one of nature’s sights and experiences that you will never forget. Grouse will be everywhere, on the ground, in the trees and shrubs, and in every direction wherever you look. Once they reach the evergreen forests blue grouse change their diet from the succulent tips of plants and berries to evergreen needles. ~ Barry Thornton

Liz Barrett captured this shot of a blue grouse on the Texas Creek Road, and shared it with the local birding community.

As our correspondent, John Tschopp says, “Digital photography is a big benefit to birding. It gives talented photographers a chance to present wildlife scenes we could only dream of 30 years ago. Look at this Blue Grouse taken by Liz Barrett on the Texas Creek Rd. Not one feather is out of place.”

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