zondag 27 januari 2013

Common loon & Ruffed grouse

The stamps Dulcey uses are always great, as you can see here...

Named for their clumsy, awkward appearance when walking on land, common loons are migratory birds which breed in forested lakes and large ponds in northern North America and parts of Greenland and Iceland. They winter all along North America’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts as well as in Europe and Iceland.

Their unusual cries, which vary from wails to tremolos to yodels, are distinct to individuals and can be heard at great distances. Loon cries are most prevalent during breeding season as pairs aggressively defend their territories.

Loons have striking red eyes, black heads and necks, and white striping, checkering, and spotting on their backs. They grow up to three feet (91 centimeters) in length and weigh up to 12 pounds (5 kilograms), feeding largely on fish and invertebrates.

Their predators are diverse and can strike from all directions as they include birds like gulls, ravens, and crows, fish such as pike, and land mammals such as raccoons, weasels, and skunks.

They nest lakeside and incubate their eggs for 27 to 30 days. Hatchlings leave the nest on their first day and are able to fly in about 11 weeks.

There are many Native American legends about common loons. And to this day the Inuit legally hunt over 4,500 a year for subsistence. Loon populations are currently stable, but a number of threats loom, including human encroachment and pollution.
[source: NationalGeographic.com]

...and here!

The ruffed grouse is a bird (Class: Aves) related to chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, etc. (Order: Galliformes). It is grouped with other grouse and ptarmigan in its own family (Family: Tetraonidae). Both its scientific names come from Latin.

Adult ruffed grouse are about the size of a bantam chicken, weighing around 500-600 gm and standing about 25-30 cm tall. Their wing span is about 50 cm, from tip to tip. Males tend to be a little larger than females with longer tail feathers, but the sexes are hard to tell apart at a glance. Their coloration will vary slightly with the seasons, being somewhat lighter in winter than in summer.

Ruffed grouse are found throughout Manitoba, except in the extreme north. But they are a forest bird and are restricted to areas that have deciduous (hardwood) forests. They are most common in the aspen dominated mixed woodlands of central Manitoba. And they are thought to do better in young or regenerating forests, which have thick shrub layers. This is a species that may be benefiting from human activities such as logging that removes mature coniferous forests, which are often replaced quickly with aspens and other short-lived deciduous tree species.

The ruffed grouse is a solitary, ground-dwelling bird, but is nimble and adept at clambering around in the tops of shrubs or trees, especially in winter when buds are a primary food. They seldom fly far, preferring to walk or even run away from danger. Flight is used as a last ditch effort to avoid predators. Grouse are active during the day (diurnal) and roost for the night on low tree branches (2-3 m high) under good cover, preferring the protection of spruce or fir trees if they are around. [source: naturenorth.com]

Thank you very much Dulcey!

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