RUFFED GROUSE

INTRODUCTION 

The ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is categorized as fairly common in BCR 14. It is strongly associated with the aspen type but its ideal habitat includes a mix of forest types and brushy edges and openings with fruit-bearing shrubs. Forest openings of various sizes are also required for brood rearing. Sapling and pole hardwoods and aspen are important for escape and brood cover. Since the amount of young forest is declining in BCR 14, this species is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in one or more states in BCR 14. It is a highly sought after game species in this BCR.

HABITAT NEEDS 

This species inhabits brushy mixed-age woodlands—hardwood, mixed-wood and conifer. It uses all the stages from early successional to mature. Aspen and birch are present in the best habitat. Catkin-bearing trees or shrubs, such as yellow or paper birch, aspen and alder are important habitat components. Mature coniferous forest is important for winter roosting until the snow gets deep enough for roosting. Drumming sites—large fallen tree boles, rocks or stone walls—in dense sapling-pole hardwood, birch or aspen stands are also important.

Its territory size in BCR 14 ranges around 40 acres. It will travel further to seek out certain food supplies such as yellow birch catkins or beech nuts.

HABITAT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES 

Provide a significant aspen component in each management unit since he key habitat component is aspen. Management units should be around 100 acres with about 10 percent in openings located within aspen-hardwood and softwood stands. The aspen-hardwood component should contain at least four usable age (size) classes. The seedling-sapling stage for brood rearing, the sapling-pole stage for drumming and escape cover, the pole stage for nesting and the mature stage for feeding and nesting. The softwood component should contain stands of relatively mature trees for winter cover along with smaller size classes for feeding and escape cover.

When assessing properties for habitat potential look for soils that will provide aspen as an early successional component. Some of these soils will lead toward hardwood at a later successional stage while others will succeed toward softwood—the late successional stages of hardwood and softwood are part of the bird’s habitat requirements. Examples of these soils include Lyman, the well-drained Bernardston, Canterbury, Chichester, Marlow, Monadnock, Paxton, Plaisted and the moderately well-drained Dixfield, Gilmanton, Howland, Peru, Pittstown, Skerry, Sunapee or Woodbridge. There are others depending on the location in BCR 14.

Wildlife type: 
Forest type 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION