PA Grouse Nests - GPS Locations Needed


04/01/15

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Your help is needed!


In April and May 2015, Lisa Williams (grouse biologist for the PGC) will be seeking location information for all grouse nests observed in Pennsylvania.  A small number of wild-collected eggs (from just 3-5 nests) are needed to begin a study of Grouse and West Nile Virus.

If you’re spending time in the woods this spring, please be on the lookout for grouse nests.  Whether you are working in the woods, bird watching, running your dogs, scouting for spring gobblers, trout fishing, or just enjoying a day in the woods, you might find a nest. If so, please immediately report GPS location to Lisa via email (liswilliam@pa.gov).

PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB NESTS and DO NOT COLLECT EGGS. Collecting eggs is a violation of the Pennsylvania Game Code. Simply report GPS location.

Some additional info:

  1. WHERE to Look for Grouse Nests: Grouse hens prefer to nest in mature forest edges surrounding 5-15 yr old young forest patches, scrub oak areas, thick shrubland, and gated forest roads. While male grouse like high-density saplings with overhead cover, hens tend to nest in more open forest with rather open understory conditions so they can keep a lookout from the nest.  Nests are often placed against the base of a ‘backstop’ – a large tree trunk, root tip up, or even rock face.
  2. WHEN to Look for Grouse Nests:  Hens will begin laying in mid-April. Incubation begins in the first week of May.  The PGC seeks nest location info for all nests found in April and May.
  3. HOW to Look for Grouse Nests: If you encounter a grouse flush in suitable open woods habitat near a forest edge, a quick check of the bases of large trees and rocks for nests may be worthwhile.
  4. HOW to I.D. Grouse Nests/Eggs: See info sheet on distinguishing grouse nests and eggs from those of turkeys. Grouse nests will be at the base of a larger object and not typically covered. Turkey nests are often placed under cover of vines, brambles, logs or brush. Grouse eggs are cream-colored and about the size of ping pong balls or golf balls. Turkey eggs are the size of jumbo/XL chicken eggs, pointed at one end, and speckled with brown mottling. Turkey nest information is NOT needed at this time.
  5. WHAT TO DO when a  nest is spotted:  Get GPS location of nest and relay to Lisa Williams, PGC at liswilliam@pa.gov.  She will follow up with you to get additional information if needed.*

Thanks for your continued support of Pennsylvania’s game bird management programs!
Lisa

Lisa M. Williams, Wildlife Biologist - Grouse, Woodcock, Mourning Doves
PA Game Commission
liswilliam@pa.gov

* From RGS - minimize disturbance of the hen and nest of both grouse and turkeys, as hens are likely to abandon nests, especially early in the laying and incubation cycle if repeatedly flushed.

Mission Statement

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America's foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.

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