Favorite winter time foods for Ruffed Grouse…

I was doing a bit more research into winter time grouse foods when I came across this: Winter Food Habitats of Ruffed Grouse in Young Aspen Stands. This paper is based on finding from a 1972-1973 study of 10-15 year old clear cuts in Oneida County, Minnesota.

The researchers found that the top ruffed grouse foods were Aspen bud and Hazel catkins. The grouse also were also feeding heavily on a species of ferns, as well as on wintergreen and goldenthread.

It’s a grouse salad…pass the vinaigrette…

I’ve always been told that grouse switch to Aspen buds as cold winter moves in and the ground freezes up. This string over at Upland Journal proves that that’s not the whole story. Some bird’s diets are a bit more diverse.

Ruffed Grouse crop, stuffed with ferns & buds
Ruffed Grouse crop, stuffed with ferns & buds

The bird was shot in late December. Check out the content of it’s crop (and just how full that crop is) to see what it has been eating.

I think that green, leafy stuff is Toothed Wood Fern.

Ferns & buds from a Ruffed Grouse's crop
Ferns & buds from a Ruffed Grouse's crop
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