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I have been startled by grouse as they explode from the snow near where I am walking. Inspection of the site reveals a cavity a bit bigger than the grouse and about as deep as the bird with its neck extended with droppings in the bottom. I have also found similar unoccupied cavities with either wing marks or tracks leading from it. 



Eric Seyferth 

Bennington, VT 



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Patti Haynes" <[log in to unmask]> 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2011 5:06:24 PM 
Subject: [VTBIRD] burrowing birds? 

Have any of you seen evidence that Ruffed Grouse actually burrow in the 
snow? 

I have just started reading *Winter World* by Bernd Heinrich. In his chapter 
on snow and subnivian space he claims that Grouse and other birds actually 
burrow under the snow: -- " in the Maine woods I routinely find over thirty 
fecal pellets (in these snow shelters) where a ruffed grouse has spent the 
night. Often these birds also stay the day in their shelter, because on 
snowy, cold days I have flushed them out from underfoot under the snow even 
at noon." 

I have seen snow accumulate on birds, but I had never heard of them 
burrowing in it. 

Your thoughts or observations? 

Patti 
Moretown Village