New England Grouse Looking…Okay?

July 22, 2011 | By | Reply More

But Bad Stuff Stirring in MA

New England and ruffies (aka, wood or furry chickens) go together like deep-fried hotdogs and Mountain Dew. Okay, maybe not the right analogy but you get the drift.

Here’s some info about the best New England grouse state – Maine! – as well as some not-so-good rumblings about an indirectly anti-bird measure in Massachusetts.

New England Okay?

This recently came in from Paul Fuller of Bird Dogs Afield:

…some early reports from Northern New England from folks who are in the woods every day. Here’s how it looks: Spring storms hit some areas very hard and there was definitely chick mortality. Severe in some areas and only mildly destructive in other areas. Most observers tell me that they’re seeing about the same number of broods as normal but fewer chicks in the brood.

There are some areas in the north Maine woods that were not hit very hard and bird numbers look decent. Most observers tell me woodcock faired better than grouse.

Hey – we’re going there this fall anyway, but there you go. Thanks to Paul for chasing down this info because the New England state DNRs don’t publishing anything about birds! (Bad!)

Something Afoot in Mass

Serious birder Larry Rich gave us a heads-up about a bill in the Massachusetts Legislature that would ban clearcutting in state forests and parks.

Specifically “on all state owned lands and lands under the authority of all public and quasi-public authorities, including, but not limited to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and all municipal watershed properties with conservation protection easements purchased by the commonwealth.”

That’s taken directly from the bill, though no reason given for why they want clearcutting banned.

The bill is sponsored by these three rocket scientists – who are either sadly misinformed or wouldn’t know a grouse from an oak tree:

Peter V. Kocot (1st Hampshire)
Angelo J. Puppolo Jr. (12th Hampden)
Ellen Story (3rd Hampshire)

The Ruffed Grouse Society wrote a very good, detailed letter to some legislators (oddly, not the ones above), way too much to even quote from here but here’s the pdf if you want to read it. Bottom line being that cutting trees is good and in fact necessary for wildlife, including threatened and endangered wildlife.

First, anyone in Mass or who hunts there, please let your displeasure be known before this goes any further. Second, we still find it hard to believe that what appears to be a combination of touchy-feely-ism and global warming concerns has somehow led to a national belief that cutting trees is bad…a subject for a column at some point.


Category: 2011, Forecasts/counts, Forest Management, MA, ME, NH, Ruffed Grouse, Ruffed Grouse Society, VT

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