Have you ever heard of a Fool's Hen? It’s just one of the many nicknames of the Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis), a bird of extremes and paradoxical behaviors. It often allows people to come within just a few feet before taking flight (hence the “fool” part of its nickname), but it can also be notoriously difficult to find. In addition, this species is adapted to survive on food that few other animals eat. Join Steve and Bill (and their friend, Rich) as they head into the wilds of Ontario, Canada to search for this elusive critter, share the fascinating stories of its natural history, and shed some light on recent Spruce Grouse research. This episode was recorded in March of 2016 in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. And, man, was it cold.
Fritz, Robert S. "Consequences of insular population structure: distribution and extinction of spruce grouse populations." Oecologia 42.1 (1979): 57-65.
Hill, Laurel A. "Habitat use by spruce grouse in a fragmented system." (2015).
Ross, Angelena M., Glenn Johnson, and James P. Gibbs. "Spruce grouse decline in maturing lowland boreal forests of New York." Forest Ecology and Management 359 (2016): 118-125.
Image credit: © 2012, Dr. Jeff Howlin