Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.

 

White-tailed Ptarmigan

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 White-tailed Ptarmigan a truly alpine bird - Photo by Linnea Halverson

This master of disguise is all but invisible as its mottled plumage blends in with the surrounding rocks. The bird itself seems well aware of the efficacy of its camouflage for it is reluctant to flush when approached, as seen in this video of a ptarmigan taken on  Mount Kindersley in Kootenay National Park.  In fact people have nearly stepped on ptarmigan without seeing them. 

Ptarmigan remain in high mountain habitat throughout the year and change their plumage to suite the season. By November the mottled brown garb of summer is replaced by new winter feathers of pure, snowy white.