American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 49

DUSKY GROUSE (Dendragapus obscurus obscurus). With the exception of the Sage Grouse, this is the largest of American grouse, measuring about 20 in. in length and weighing about three pounds. This magnificent grouse is not uncommon in the Rocky Mountains from Arizona to northern Colorado. Another race, known as the Sooty Grouse, which differs chiefly in having a narrower tail band, is found from Alaska south to Oregon. Still another, Richardson Grouse, which shows scarcely any tail band, is found in the Rockies from Mackenzie to Oregon and Montana. All these birds are known to sportsmen as one, and are usually termed '"Blue Grouse."

     During winter they spend most of their time in the tops of immense firs and pines, feeding upon the buds and needles and only coming down early in the morning or at dusk to drink. Living as they do, in places where the trees are of gigantic size and set closely together, these birds are difficult to see, since their colors match the bark well and they sit motionless until they are pretty sure they are seen, when they will whir away with a thunderous roar. As more than half the time the speeding bird is apt to be behind tree trunks, the chances of successful wing shots are not rosy.

     Their eggs, laid in slight depressions alongside of logs or under bushes, are creamy-buff, spotted all over with brown.


CANADA SPRUCE PARTRIDGE (Canachites canadensis canace). A medium-sized grouse, measuring about 15 in. in length, feeding chiefly upon spruce buds, which impart a disagreeable taste to its flesh, on which account they are seldom shot and are usually exceedingly tame. They are sometimes caught in the hands and often caught with a noose on the end of a pole. This species, or some of the almost identical forms, is found in wooded regions of Canada and northern United States. Franklin Grouse, found in western Canada and northwestern United States, has scarcely any band on the end of the tail and the upper coverts are broadly banded with white.