The distinct sound of a ruffed grouse drumming is like poetry to the ears (for a female bird, that is!).
Ruffed grouse are certainly unique birds. Beautiful in coloration, yet capable of total concealment, they are often flushed from perches or the ground – surprising the unsuspecting hiker or hunter. Although similar to the sound of a starting engine or helicopter, the drumming of a male grouse during the spring is a recognizable tune for those who spend time in the woods.
Created when the wings are rapidly rotated back and forth, the drumming sound of the male grouse will generally last 8 to 10 seconds, in which time the wings may beat upwards of 50 times. Used to announce a male’s territory – and attract a mate – the sequence will occur from atop a favorite fallen log and can be heard a quarter-of-a-mile away or more.
This stunning footage filmed by Dale J. Martin is hands-down the best we’ve seen yet. Ensure your speakers are turned up:
Being a wildlife photographer myself, I’ve spent many days capturing these wonderful birds on film. And although I’ve heard more drumming sequences than I can shake a stick at, I’ve yet to capture the spectacle with video. After seeing Martin’s exquisite work, it’s definitely on my bucket list.
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