Friday, January 1, 2021

Figuring It Out

    Grouse hunters are always trying to figure it out. Why was last Sunday so good, with birds everywhere? The day before we saw none in similar cover. Oh the dogs seemed to get birdy a few times, but where were the grouse? Were they in the trees?
    Grouse are reluctant to spend a lot of time on the ground when there is snow cover. Is that because they know their natural camouflage is compromised by the white snow? Or is it only because the snow has buried much of their earth bound food?
    Sunday was great, moving more than a dozen birds in under two hours. Was it the weather? We had just finished a week of unusually warm weather for December. Warm weather means the birds don’t need the calories to keep up their body temperatures, so they may not feed as much. But the temperature dropped a little and an inch of fluffy snow fell. Did that cause the birds to come down to feed?
    Do the birds know when the barometer falls? Do they move about to feed in anticipation of a cold front? It certainly got colder.
    Most of the birds were on the ground on Sunday, where for the previous couple of weeks the birds had been content to sit in the safety of the softwood trees. I assumed they had been plucking catkins from alders and birch because the birds we saw or heard flush from the trees were all near alders or birch. We saw few tracks anywhere.
    What time of the day is best? Sunday it was late morning, but maybe it was better later. Or earlier. Who knows? This time of the year the shadows are long shortly after lunchtime and by three the day feels late and the temperature is plummeting.
    Two weeks ago a shot bird had a crop filled with fern leaves, even though a couple of inches of snow covered the ground. Where did he find those?
    If we ever figure out all of this I’m sure it would get boring.

No comments:

Post a Comment