There’s something special about that feeling you get in the grouse woods in springtime – that moment when you pause and can’t quite hear anything, but actually feel something thumping in your chest (besides your heart). Dougherty, Eric M. 2008. As usual, habitat is likely number one on the list. The drumming is quite loud and the signal can be heard from a good distance away. The surveys have been used reliably for several decades. Ted mentioned that even though Minnesota has some of the best public land hunting opportunities and ruffed grouse habitat, “it appears that nationwide we’ve been in some long-term harvest and hunter satisfaction declines even though the long-term drumming indices don’t show a significant negative trend statewide.” More research is needed to identify those issues. Oecologia. It can come as a surprise to learn this distant sound, like an engine trying to start, comes from a bird at all. Contrary to what many people believe, they’re not hitting their wings against their breast – it’s actually caused by the vacuum of air left behind from their rapid wingbeats. To conduct drumming surveys, biologists typically go out from late March to mid-May depending on which state they are in. So what is their purpose and what can we still learn from them? Ted Dick, the Minnesota Forest Game Bird Coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources, noted that “for the first 50 years of the drumming survey, the fall hunter harvest correlated more closely with the rise and fall of the drumming surveys in their ten-year swings. But in recent history, there seems to be somewhat of a disconnect between spring drumming counts and fall harvest numbers/observations. Nesting success and brood survival is much more important for fall bird numbers, and drumming counts cannot inform that. Given the importance of quality habitat, it definitely seems reasonable to me. What if more private landowners participated in forestry projects (e.g., timber harvests, planting fruiting shrubs, etc.) Many states are now asking hunters to submit blood, heart tissue, and feather samples from grouse they shoot so the presence of West Nile Virus can be detected and tracked more closely. More by John Holyoke. 2017 Grouse Survey Report. Hear it once, and you’re likely left wondering what in the world could make such an odd sound. An early stage of the ruffed grouse courtship ritual, according to Brad Allen, a wildlife biologist who serves as bird group leader for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Ruffed grouse drumming rate (grouse drumming/hour) from the Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey conducted during the spring, and the grouse flush rate (grouse flushed/hour) from the Grouse and Woodcock Hunting Log conducted during the fall grouse hunting season. When the BDN asked for readers to share their trail camera photos and videos, I secretly hoped that somebody — anybody — would step forward with a video like this. Displays are most frequent just before and after sunrise, although they can continue into early … So what does all of that actually tell us about ruffed grouse? �j �8�|J���0y�N���N��";��l�9q�n�q�N}r��tO/>U���+_��뼘�����*IШ[��={�xB�^�߉��E��l^�E�aI��e6O�:��l���e��l�=�ϳbQvӂ��{ ?��WZ�0�ޯ�5��|P�Y/�{\>.`�-"A��a��N���7'�j��Jwi� �ĝ(Q�QJ��G5Cg�9��hp�p 2005). The 2017 Minnesota grouse season is a great example of this. The exact survey dates are determined from multiple and very site-specific factors, including wind speed thresholds, optimal temperatures, and precipitation/weather considerations. 104 0 obj <>/Filter/FlateDecode/ID[<66D73888DD840ECD4AFE5AA04A7B337E><98C37D328DEBC54B8A5C3F3A10727DA1>]/Index[83 44]/Info 82 0 R/Length 97/Prev 925782/Root 84 0 R/Size 127/Type/XRef/W[1 2 1]>>stream Use of Spring Drumming Counts to Index Ruffed Grouse Populations in the Southern Appalachians. endstream endobj startxref h�b```f``�d`e`��bf@ a�(G��$pJ���)��@�V9�"�L�>f+�U� 3[�޽��K��|�S`lo�C�������n�y�p�Qr�����#��Mkq��읫�Ѷ]X�*J�7Oͬd��FGGCGG+�h�` s@D6&ݡ��[�� ������i�-�ސ���qZ�$��z���,0��3p\PT�`&�`�s���>��@����؜�O�9��(` O=T9 The male Ruffed Grouse’s unique drumming display takes place from atop a low log, stump, or rock. Drumming surveys essentially help us estimate the density of drumming male grouse on a repeated route over time. To summarize, grouse drumming surveys are still very useful for resource managers as they help track general population trends over time. Maine news, sports, politics, election results, and obituaries. So, what are you watching, exactly? An index only indicates the relative size of a population and can reveal population trends (i.e., whether a population is increasing, decreasing, etc. C��uЬ��&Zs�BJIVHk`���po�е�4��%�z���aa̹�h{�H�7U�����#Bı �@=����8��|�aæ� �T�鞁�ʃ���\�>r�=�. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their... 2019 Jun; 190(2):309-321. A predicted effect of climate change is an increase in precipitation, so it’s likely that this potential threat could continue for many bird species. After arriving at a survey point, the surveyor typically waits for a calm-down period to let the birds relax and return to their normal activities (Dougherty 2008). West Nile Virus, in particular, is spread by mosquitoes during the summer and is deadly to many bird species. Without adequate nesting and brood cover (e.g., dense young forests), predators can negatively affect nest success and brood survival (Dougherty 2008). If drumming surveys only reveal broad trends as an index, what other issues could be affecting grouse survival that we might be able to track or influence? Available online at:, A.A., M.J. Sheriff, J.N. on their own parcels? Finally it becomes clear that it’s actually a grouse drumming from a hundred yards away. With additional stressors, such as insufficient/poor quality habitat and changing weather conditions, the disease could be more devastating, as noted in Pennsylvania. Describe the experience to someone who’s spent a lot of time in the woods, and they’re likely to smile and tell you just what critter made that noise, and explain what the bird was up to. How many average landowners are working specifically to improve grouse nesting habitat on their properties? But it’s critical to remember that a drumming survey is an index – it is not a census. It seems that in today’s woodlands, other factors are affecting grouse survival that are more difficult to identify. Annu. 2017. Ruffed Grouse Drumming Counts: An Examination of Observer and Roadside Effects. We asked Ted for input on this observation. This is the part that can cause confusion and frustration for hunters. coast have been identified, Proudly powered by Newspack by Automattic. Assoc. Cold and/or rainy conditions during the brood-rearing season can have negative effects on some bird species. 83 0 obj <> endobj The dappled, grayish or reddish Ruffed Grouse is hard to see, but its “drumming on air” display is a fixture of many spring forests. Agencies 59:135–143. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window). To summarize, grouse drumming surveys are still very useful for resource managers as they help track general population trends over time. h�bbd``b`��@�q+�`{ bi A�l*���6��� V$L�.���-@"�dT��? Z Thanks to David I. who reached out with some awesome photos and videos, including this one, that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Most hunters keep tabs on drumming surveys when they come out each summer, and get excited (or dismayed) about the results. Another potential factor affecting survival could be disease-related. endstream endobj 84 0 obj <> endobj 85 0 obj <> endobj 86 0 obj <>stream But if winters continue trending to be warmer overall with less snow cover (which is likely given climate change), that would make snow roosting more difficult for grouse and could increase stress on the population (Shipley et al. Snow roosting reduces temperature-associated stress in a wintering bird. Conf. Now over the past 20 years, the high correlation seems to be decreasing.”. “That’s awesome drumming video footage, absolutely beautiful as you don’t always get to see the view from the front,” Allen said. But drumming surveys do not inform us about how many hens and chicks are around in the spring or how many birds survive throughout the summer. Then the surveyor listens for 4 to 5 minutes (again, highly specific methods that vary by state) and records the number of grouse drums heard. Pauli, and B. Zuckerberg. 126 0 obj <>stream School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University. “Conventional wisdom is that this male is trying to attract the handful of females within earshot to his log vicinity so he can mate with them if they’re impressed enough.”. But when the hunting season arrived, grouse hunters were hard pressed to flush birds. And trust me, if you’re a fledgling hiker or new hunter, the noise might spook you a bit. It seems that in today’s woodlands, other factors are affecting grouse survival that are more difficult to identify.