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Patrick Durkin column: Ruffed grouse is at home in the snow

They are the Eskimos of the bird world

1:00 AM, Mar. 31, 2013
A collapsed tunnel leads to a ruffed grouse's abandoned snow roost in Ashland County.
A collapsed tunnel leads to a ruffed grouse's abandoned snow roost in Ashland County.
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Snow that's deep enough for skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling - and swearing - covers much of Wisconsin as we trudge out of March, but while wintery Aprils can plague white-tailed deer, they don't faze ruffed grouse.

That's especially true if the grouse can bury themselves in snow overnight for protection from predators and cold temperatures. Ruffed grouse, after all, are the Eskimos of the bird world. But instead of building shelters from blocks of snow cut with saws and shovels, grouse simply dive head first into snow banks to end a flight, or stand atop the snow and shuffle in place until ...

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