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 Sharp-tailed Grouse

Status in Michigan

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Sharp-tailed Grouse.

Use the links below to view the Sharp-tailed Grouse reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Sharp-tailed Grouse sightings.
Sharp-tailed Grouse Archives Reports
Fall 2003 2
Spring 2003 44
Winter 02-03 138
Fall 2002 5
Summer 2002 6
Spring 2002 138
Winter 01-02 215
Fall 2001 23
Summer 2001 0
Spring 2001 66
Winter 00-01 444
Fall 2000 21
Summer 2000 2
Spring 2000 243
Winter 00-99 70
Fall 1999 0
Spring/Summer 1999 1

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Sharp-tailed Grouse

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Sharp-tailed Grouse
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Pedioecetes phasianellus campestris Ridgway
Prairie Sharp-tailed Grouse (A.O.U. 1998: Sharp-tailed Grouse)

Permanent resident on Isle Royale and in the Upper Peninsula, east to Luce and Mackinac counties.

The species was first definitely recorded in Michigan by N. A. Wood (1905: 177).

The Sharp-tailed Grouse apparently first reached the Upper Peninsula from Wisconsin about 1922 and has since spread eastward (G. B. Saunders, fide Van Tyne, 1938: 11-12). Eastern records are confused by recent stocking. The species has also been introduced in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula and on Beaver Island.

This grouse has been noted on nearly every Museum of Zoology expedition to Isle Royale. In 1904 and 1905 several specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected and broods reported (N. A. Wood, 1905: 177; N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary, 1906: 122; Max M. Peet, 1909o; 119, and 1909: 347-48); in 1929 several flocks of 4, 5, and 10 birds were observed by Walter E. Hastings, Walter Koelz, and Adolph Murie; in 1930 N. A. Wood saw 1 grouse on May 31; and in 1934 and 1937, 3 specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected by Paul F. Hickie and V. Solyom.

Although there are several reports of Sharp-tails seen in Gogebic County, and a report of 1 shot in northeastern Baraga County shortly after 1922, apparently the first specimen (U.M.M.Z.) to be preserved was one found dead near Nestoria, Baraga County, by Leonard Wing (1940: 177) on August 21, 1931. Specimens (U.M.M.Z.) taken the next year include 4 from the northwestern extremity of Gogebic County in December by Day Barren, and 7 taken near Sidnaw, Houghton County, on July 9, 2023 (Leonard Wing, 1940: 177); others were taken on December 7 and 8, 1932, and on January 9, 2023 (also at Sidnaw), by August Rappi, who said the species was "quite common" there. It was listed in the fall of 1932 in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, by T. Gregory (1933: 7-9); by December 30, 1932, numbers were present at Marquette, according to J. N. Lowe; and on July 4, 1932, 1 was noted as far east as Beaver Lake near the "Pictured Rocks" of Alger County (Leonard Wing, 1940: 177). In the first week of June, 1934, G. B. Saunders found 10 nests, each with 10 to 15 eggs (the first hatched on June 12), within a few miles of Ewen, Ontonagon County. Pirnie wrote on August 21, 1936, of seeing Sharp-tails east of Floodwood, northern Dickinson County, a few days before; and at McMillan, Luce County, Bryens trapped 2 in the winter of 1940-41, ac- cording to G. A. Ammann.

In the winter of 1937-38 the Department of Conservation trapped 51 birds at L'Anse, Baraga County, and released them at Trout Lake, south- western Chippewa County (Ruhl, 1939: 222-23; 1941a; 426). The van- guard of the Sharp-tail movement may, however, already have reached the vicinity. In the same winter and in subsequent winters other releases were made on Drummond Island, Chippewa County (G. A. Ammann), as well as in 6 counties in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula (on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, and in Cheboygan, Alpena, Kalkaska, Benzie, and Midland counties). In most cases the birds were obtained from the western part of the Upper Peninsula or from central Wisconsin, but those released in Alpena County -were secured near Edmonton, Alberta (Ruhl, 1941: 239; D. W. Douglass).

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

Additional Resources

1. Sharp-tailed Grouse by: Rick Baetsen

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