• osstewardship

You'll wish you were a grouse!

Wouldn't it be nice to have snowshoes built into your feet this snowy winter? Well, you're going to be pretty envious of some of our local grouse species!

Both the Ruffled Grouse and Spruce Grouse both grow small "combs" along the sides of all their toes for the winter, which increases the surface area of their feet and helps them stay on top of the snow, just like snowshoes.


These little combs (called 'pectinations') are modified versions of the scales that cover the rest of the grouse's feet and only grow for the winter before falling off once the temperature warms and the snow melts. In addition to these 'snowshoes', most grouse species also grow more feathers on their legs as well as additional feathers further towards their toes to keep their feet warm. They also grow extra feathers on their face that cover their nostrils in order to help warm the air they breathe.

Automatic snowshoes, legwarmers, AND face scarf each winter? Sounds great to us!


Weasels and snowshoe hares also have neat winter adaptations...if you can see them!