Wednesday, 17 April 2013 00:00

Thunder chickens!

Written by Brad Fenson
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Lots of people refer to ruffed grouse as Thunder Chickens for the roaring sound their wings make within flight. Male grouse take up residence on a log, well concealed in the forest to drum to the ladies. They beat their wings against the air in a flurry of activity that echoes through the forest. If you're slow and quiet, sneaking up on a drummer boy will provide unique entertainment. Sharp-tailed grouse are also breeding and they set up in arenas known as a lek.

The males dance and coo and try to show off their best to attract a female. The ladies saunter through the lek trying to choose the best male, which often causes fights between the boys. I've set up a blind on the edge of a lek and watched the birds dance less than a meter from my camera lens. It is a sight to behold . . .

- Brad

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