Winter Roundup - MN Upland Birds


02/23/16

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The original article Winter Roundup by Brad Dokken was posted on Feb 21, 2016 at 6:45 a.m. at http://www.grandforksherald.com/outdoors/3952744-winter-roundup and includes sections on Deer, Upland Birds and Fish.

February snow roost - flush site in Central Minnesota. Credit: Laurence Chamberlain
February snow roost - flush site in Central Minnesota. Photo credit: Laurence Chamberlain

Excerpt of the entire Upland Birds section:

The mostly benign winter should benefit pheasant survival in Minnesota and North Dakota, but the lack of snow in some areas—and a freeze-thaw cycle that has put a crust on snow in others—can be a detriment to snow-roosting birds such as ruffed grouse and sharptails.

Ted Dick, ruffed grouse specialist for the DNR in Grand Rapids, Minn., said he talks to DNR managers across grouse range and most would prefer to have more snow. At the same time, the lack of extended cold temperatures has helped mitigate the marginal snow cover, Dick said.

"Nights when it barely gets to 10 or 15 degrees are very easy for them to tolerate," he said.

Prachar, the Roseau River WMA manager, said he's not seeing many ruffed grouse, but the occasional bird is "popping out of the snow here and there."

"So they are snow roosting," Prachar said. "I think this is a pretty good winter for them."

Prachar said he's been especially encouraged by the number of sharptails he's seen.

"Numbers are fairly impressive," Prachar said. "I'm pretty optimistic about the sharptails."

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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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