Many people are familiar with the drummings of the ruffed grouse. It is now, a well known fact that the drumming noise is a result of air concussions made by more or less rapid movements of the wings, producing a sort of muffeled thump repeated several times with increasing acceleration so that each performance ends in a whirr-r.
The sooty grouse, abundant in the high valleys of the park, has an entirely different vernacular for expressing his virulity. The fact that he is commonly called "Hooter", is indicative of the kind of noise he makes. Often times the "hoot" of this bird is mistaken for that of the owl. It is made after the bird has assumed a half strutting poise with the air pouch on either side of the neck well extended, so that he resembles somewhat a cooing pigeon.
During an extended observation of one of these performing males, I discovered that each performance consisted of five distinct hoots the first and last of which were of two syllables, and the three intervening of one syllable, as; OOh-hoo,hoo,hoo,hoo, ooh-hoo.
Because of the habit of the ruffed grouse to return to the same log or stump day after day to issue his challenge, sportsmen and naturalists speak of the "drumming log". Although the sooty grouse seems to favor the same old rendezvou, he is perfectly wiling to be disturbed, fly to the branch of a near by tree, or walk aside a few yards, and there quite unconcerned in the presence of a considerable audience extend the large neck puffs and issue this gutteral hoot, which sounds as far distant at a few yards as at a quarter of a mile, and as close at a quarter of a mile as at a few yards.
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