Join in on the citizen science aspects of data collection for ruffed grouse
Animal populations that cycle, hitting peaks and valleys on a regular basis, are interesting phenomena, but often puzzling to us humans to watch.
Here in the Midwest, ruffed grouse and some other grouse species can usually be counted on to cycle, usually about each decade. Explanations for the cycles have been hypothesized, but rarely explained to everyone’s satisfaction.
This could be a critical year for the current ruffed grouse cycle because bird populations seemed to plummet last autumn in many regions of the bird’s better habitats.
Real or not, and because the cycle stage was climbing toward a peak, hunters, biologists, and birders continue to wonder what the estimated populations might be during the next several years, and beyond.
Will the birds pick up their cycle where they left off before the presumed dip last autumn? Will the cycle start over at the bottom? Or will it do something unpredictable?
Regardless, hunters will be waiting, and also watching to see how the populations respond. Could this information not only tell hunters what to anticipate this autumn, but shed new light on possible overall causes for the basic cycle?
Read, study, watch, and participate in this “study” of nature. Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota are going to work together to monitor grouse this summer and fall for the presence of West Nile virus. Contribute to the West Nile virus survey, if asked. Journal this year’s and future hunts for your own surveys. Don’t forgo the 2018 season, even if the results may be something less than 2017, less than hoped, and less that anticipated.
Join in on the citizen science aspects of data collection.