No that’s not his actual name, it’s a phrase Dad came up with, but it fits this particular species pretty darn well. The Willow Ptarmigan can only be found in the most northern parts of North America. They turn white in winter and brown in summer. They blend in really well with their habitat except in between seasons when they molt. Ptarmigan’s are a type of ground bird and are fiercely territorial.
So why the name? Well Willow Ptarmigan’s aren’t the smartest of birds and their call really doesn’t help their cause. The only way to understand is to hear it. You can click here to hear the call. Once you do you’ll understand. It truly doesn’t sound like anything a bird could come up with as a call. However, they are a great photographic subject. Not only do they hold still, allowing you to get close physically, they are a striking color which makes them visually pop. Without a doubt the Willow Ptarmigan has been added to my list of favorite birds.
Images Captured with Nikon D5, 600 f/4, TC-17eII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film