Ptarmigan…

 

While hiking around Swiftcurrent Lake in Many Glacier, we noticed some rustling going on in the bushes.  Praying it wasn’t a bear we spotted this mama hen.

Look close…

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With about 6 chicks!IMG_1884 P8040686 P8040697-001 P8040704 P8040713 P8040718

 

The White-tailed Ptarmigan is a grouse of alpine (above treeline) habitats. It is the smallest grouse in North America (total length 30 to 31 cm, weight 295 to 440 grams), and the only species of grouse with white tail feathers. It possesses cryptic plumage that changes annually from white in winter to grayish-brown in summer. The sexes are similar in body size, shape, and winter plumage.

Breeding season males have a conspicuous necklace of coarsely barred brown and black breast feathers, while female plumage is predominantly brown and black with yellowish barring. Male plumage is generally more brown and gray than in the female. Males possess scarlet eye combs that are especially conspicuous during the breeding season; females have less conspicuous and smaller salmon-colored eye combs. In winter, in addition to the completely white plumage, the legs are heavily feathered to the ends of the toes, creating a snowshoe effect for walking on snow.

Read more here…

Mama Ptarmigan…

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