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On this week’s Oregon Outdoors, the Mail Tribune’s Mark Freeman is in the Siskiyou National Forest tagging along with the ODFW in search of the Sooty Grouse. The Sooty Grouse is a game bird of which the ODFW has limited knowledge. Mark gives us a little background on the bird, it’s habitat and habits. The male Sooty Grouse has a very distinctive mating call which the ODFW uses to track its population in the forest. They spend the warmer months feasting on grubs and fruit, then they head to the canopy for the cold months where they will munch on pine needles all winter. The ODFW is ramping up to post remote microphones to better track and account for wildlife critters. Matthew Vargas is a Biologist with the ODFW and is showing Mark how keep track of Sooty Grouse in a given area. They pull up to a given stretch of road, listen for a 3 minute window, mark their findings on a specialized app & move on to the next area. The ODFW is in the process of going fully digital with their wildlife tracking and using the app is another step towards that goal.

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