- The ruffed grouse is an elusive bird that is a treat to see for conservationists, bird-watchers and hunters alike.
- They were named after their “ruffed” neck feathers.
- Ruffed grouse live in the similar habitat to the American woodcock.
The Need for Management
Young forests with aspen trees and other bushes help protect nesting grouse and provide food for the birds. Maturing forests and urban development have led to a decline in young forests, causing a corresponding drop in the bird’s population.
The Ruffed Grouse Society of Michigan (RGS) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has worked to restore young aspen forests. Since 2009, RGS has regenerated more than 3,600 acres of forest. RGS chapters also help to plant fruiting trees like crabapples and hawthorns to provide food sources for grouse. In addition, ruffed grouse hunters often assist the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in monitoring grouse and woodcock populations by providing information about their hunts.
The rising ruffed grouse population and the number of regenerated acres of young forest are the result of:
- While the Michigan DNR conducts most forest management work, Michigan’s 20 Ruffed Grouse Society chapters have supported proper forest harvest management and the use of prescribed burns.
- Removal of overgrown plants to reinvigorate habitat and allow new growth that feeds and provides food and cover for grouse.
- Encouraging Michigan grouse hunters to assist the DNR in monitoring populations by recording their bird sightings.