Saturday, November 17, 2007

grouse fans + fans grousing

1) Grouse fans:
Based on my examination of the tail-fan and feathers of the grouse we took in Maine, I think it's most likely a male. Michael Furtman's recent book, Ruffed Grouse: Woodland Drummer, has what seems to be the best summary of the research on grouse sexing. He also has some incredible photographs that are well worth the asking price of the book.

As he relays, regional variations in grouse size affect how long the tail feathers are and, therefore, in the absence of sample data from your particular area, mere measurement of an individual bird's tail-feathers isn't a very reliable indicator of sex. By the same token, just looking at the butt feathers or the banding on the tail feathers isn't entirely reliable either. In Furtman's opinion, a combination of the latter two factors should give a high degree of certainty.

Because our grouse had an unbroken dark band across the base of its tail and a single white spot on the butt feathers immediately above the tail, I'm figuring this was a male, grey-phase grouse.

2) Fans grousing:
Michigan plays Ohio State in college football in a little under an hour. Both teams are coming off a loss the previous week -- UM to the Badgers of Wisconsin, OSU to Badger-slayers Illinois. ESPN thinks this might be Lloyd Carr's last game against Jim Tressel... I think more than a few of us UM alums wish it might have been sooner.

In any case, UM is playing for bragging rights and OSU to have even a possibility of staying in a national title race. But this is arguably the greatest sports rivalry of all time, certainly in college sports.

We'll see if Dan at shotonsite is right -- that OSU is overrated because of its weak schedule -- or whether my thoughts about UM's slow starts in games will be its undoing against the machine known as jim Tressel.

1 comment:

Dan & Margaret said...

Dan couldn't have been more wrong. 8^(
Meanwhile, his fallback team, the GVSU Lakers, following a first round bye in the Div 2 tournament, face the team that beat them last. In 2004. Going for National title number 5. We'll have something to say about Lloyd Carr and Michigan football on the blog within a day or two.