Congratulations to Joshua Lincoln for winning the November 2020 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist. Joshua’s image of a pair of Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) perched in a crabapple received the most ‘faves’ from other iNaturalists.
Ruffed Grouse are a species familiar to many Vermonters, though some may not be aware of the fascinating winter footwear adaptation these grouse utilize to make it through the harsh, snowy winter. Starting in the fall, small, fleshy projections called “pectinations” begin to grow along their toes. In winter, once each toe is outfitted with these flashy fringes, Ruffed Grouse have the advantage of increased surface area on their feet, allowing them to walk more easily across the snow-covered forest floor. If you happen to find the distinctive tracks left behind in the snow by Ruffed Grouse, be sure to snap a photo and upload it to the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!