On a trip to the top of Signal Mountain, I spotted quite the critter. My first impression of this bird was that it must be some kind of strange cross between a turkey and a peacock. Alas, there is no such creature, but what I did see was a male Blue Grouse.
This bird has a full spread of white and dark gray tail feathers and a colorful red and white spot near its chest. The rest of the body is mostly a grayish-brown and it is slightly larger than a chicken. Adult males have a yellow-orange patch of bare skin above the eye.
While I came upon the grouse near the summit of Signal Mountain, the bird also frequents the west shore of Jenny Lake, the trail from String Lake to Leigh Lake, and the south end of Jackson Hole area.
According to “Birds of Grand Teton National Park,” by Bert Raynes:
“In spring, a male Blue Grouse might walk up to you on the trail and nip at your blue pants or aqua-colored backpack.”
Luckily for me, I left my blue at home that day.
Raynes goes on to note, “You may hear one hooting, a deep note difficult to pinpoint. You will probably have to be alert; these ‘fool hens’ are expert in camouflage and can disappear from view in a few paces. If you do spot one you might be able to approach carefully and observe it at quite close range.”
Watch for this bird in the Park. No, it’s not a brown peacock or a small turkey. It’s a Blue Grouse and they are out and strutting their stuff.
Posted from Katie’s Corner