Ruffed Grouse on His Drumming Log
A male ruffed grouse, perched on top of his favorite drumming log. Every spring, male ruffed grouse partake in an unusual courtship, where they pick a fallen tree as their stage. They then beat their wings forward in front of their body at such a speed that it creates a vacuum and a small sonic boom. A single drumming event may include 40 individual beats in rapid succession, and they drum about every 4-6 minutes. I have timed this bird at about 4 minutes and 30 seconds between drumming sessions. Also, they have been known to drum year round, permitting their drumming logs aren't buried in snow or too swamped out by water.
I sat for 30 minutes after work two different nights, and the third night, I was successful in photographing this extremely shy bird. Since these photographs, I have sat in front of this log, his favorite, and in front of another lesser used log for a total of 6 hours, nearly 8 hours in all for a half dozen photos and three appearances total! I just recently discovered that he has a third log he drums from when spooked from his other two. Photographing this bird has really tested my patience as a nature observer and photographer, but I really have enjoyed the technical aspect of photographing this shy bird. My ultimate goal is to get video of him drumming. For now, I have posted a really good video I found of a ruffed grouse drumming.
The ruffed grouse is a medium-sized grouse occurring in forests from the Appalachian Mountains across Canada to Alaska. It is non-migratory.
The ruffed grouse is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a "partridge", an unrelated phasianid, and occasionally confused with the grey partridge, a bird of open areas rather than woodlands.
The ruffed grouse is the state bird of Pennsylvania, USA.