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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Outdoors blog

Photo: Ptarmigan change color with the leaves

Willow ptarmigan. (Jaime Johnson)
Willow ptarmigan. (Jaime Johnson)

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- Just as the leaves are changing changing color on the trees this month, a member of the grouse family is slowly changing colors to eventually blend into its mountain wintering areas.

White-tailed ptarmigan are the species you're most likely to see in the North Cascades and high areas of Montana and British Columbia.

The willow ptarmigan that Montana outdoor photographer Jaimie Johnson captured with his camera this week in northern turndra is showing its colors (above), and what will be its lack of color in a month or so when the snow blankets the high ridges.

"These birds are really great," Johnson said. "We love to sit and listen to their sounds – they sound like a cartoon! We can’t help but laugh when we hear them!"

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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