Pennsylvania state bird: Ruffed GrouseBonasa umbellus
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Pennsylvania State Bird Description:
Size: 16 to 20 inches (40 - 50 cm)
Wingspan: 20 - 25 inches (50 - 64 cm)
Weight: 15.89 to 26.48 ounces (450- 750 g)
The Ruffed Grouse is a medium, chicken-sized bird. It has a
stout body that is covered with mottled grey and brown feathers and
barring on the flanks. There is a dark "ruff" of feathers on
the sides of the neck and a slight crest on top of the head. There is a
dark narrow band near the end of the moderately long and rounded tail.
The male and female look alike and are almost the same
size. This makes it difficult to tell them apart.
The Ruffed Grouse thrives in young forests and brush lands with
The Ruffed Grouse can be found from central Alaska, throughout all of
the Canadian provinces into northern California, Utah and southward
The Ruffed Grouse eats green leaves, flower buds, ferns, insects,
seeds, fruits, acorns and an occasional frog or snake.
The male will aggressively defend a territory of 6 to 10 acres.
He will stand on a large rock or fallen log and beat his wings to
attract the attention of hens and to warn other males in the area. This
is called "drumming". The female will build her nest in a
bowl-like depression in dead leaves and vegetation on the ground. It is
usually located at the base of a tree, stump, or boulder.
The hen will lay 8 to 14 eggs and incubation takes from 24 to
26 days. The female incubates and rears the hatchlings without help
from the male.
A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Pennsylvania
Hatchlings leave the nest within 24 hours
after hatching and feed themselves immediately.
Ruffed Grouse populations fluctuate on 8 to
10 year cycles. It is not fully understood why. Evidence suggests that
it could be caused by weather trends, food availability and predation.
The Ruffed Grouse's coloration makes it
nearly invisible. If you are not careful when walking through the
forest, you could get quite a shock when the Ruffed Grouse explodes
from near your feet in a flurry of wings.