Montana Outdoors

August 24, 2008

Spruce Grouse

Maybe because I told her that her babies were beautiful when I encountered her today on an old road just east of Baldy Mountain, this little spruce grouse stayed around and showed me every pose she knew. (I usually consider myself very fortunate to get even one shot.)

Spruce grouse live in 12 of our northern states including Alaska and widely across Canada and, although they are endangered or nearly so in some of the northeastern states and are losing habitat to development in many other areas they are not exactly rare. I seldom see one here though and consider it a real treat when I do.

Spruce Grouse, Falcipennnis canadensis

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse

Sage Grouse


  1. well she’s beautiful allright! πŸ™‚


    Comment by Sumedh — August 24, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  2. saying her name is a tongue twister! πŸ™‚

    great photos!


    Comment by silken — August 24, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  3. wow I am impressed…I wish we had wildlife like that here…she is lovely


    Comment by Tabbie — August 24, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  4. Sumedh,

    She does a lot of decorating with just a couple of colors, doesn’t she?


    Comment by montucky — August 24, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

  5. Silken,

    Yes it is. One of the problems with that species is that they just naturally don’t have much fear of humans and for that reason they are commonly called by a name easier to pronounce: “Fool Hen”.


    Comment by montucky — August 24, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  6. Tabbie,

    I love seeing the wildlife. Of course I see a lot that I’m just unable to photograph too.

    I saw on one website that that there are spruce grouse in Michigan, but they are listed as “imperiled” and are fully protected there, and as far as I can tell, found in only 3 counties, Chippewa, Luce and Marquette.


    Comment by montucky — August 24, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  7. Fool Hens! One of our favorite places in MT…. between Polebridge and C-Falls – Fool Hen Rapids. Haven’t ever seen any of those critters there:)


    Comment by Maureen — August 24, 2008 @ 6:32 pm

  8. You know, there have been so many times where I’ve seen the relationship between the name of a place and its namesake. I’d bet at some time there were some there. People have probably eliminated them in that area by now. I haven’t been up in that area for years.


    Comment by montucky — August 24, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

  9. Saying the right thing is a good way to begin a beautiful friendship.



    Comment by knightofswords — August 24, 2008 @ 8:28 pm

  10. That’s true: I wonder if it would work with a griz.


    Comment by montucky — August 24, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  11. I have only been lucky enough to see a spruce grouse one time. So true that here in the northeast they are scarce and add that to their natural tendancy to be shy it’s a real treat for me to see your photos. the one pic I got last year it was partly hiddeen in underbrush. Nice shots!


    Comment by Cedar — August 25, 2008 @ 7:21 am

  12. I saw one a summer back in Allegeny in southeastern NY. They look very chicken-like. We almost thought it was one until we drove up closer (it was in the road).


    Comment by scienceguy288 — August 25, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

  13. Cedar,

    Their salvation is that they live in very dense areas of forest. In the area where this one and her family lives is so dense I could hardly have moved through it at all.


    Comment by montucky — August 25, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  14. Scienceguy,

    They are very chicken-like. These are a pound to a pound and a half, pretty close to the size of the Ruffed Grouse and larger than the Ptarmigan but much smaller than the Blue Grouse.


    Comment by montucky — August 25, 2008 @ 5:35 pm

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