Visual display of the Aldo Leopold papers : 9/25/10-5 : Research Areas and Projects

				
which have a sparse vegetation, due to frequent burning. A sparse, 
dry vegetation seems to be the deciding factor in determining the 
range of the sharp-tallod grouse. The sphagnum, slthough damp be. 
neath is dry on the surfact. During wet weather the grouse oould 
live on top of the dnea nte of latherleaf whlh grows extensive- 
ly in most bogs. In the West the sharp-tailed grse is more of a 
plains bird than a prairie bird. It Inhabited western North Dakota, 
western South Dakota, eastern Wyoming, Kansas, and Nebraska. Sine 
settlment It has mved eastward, probably due to cultivation, whioh 
has resulted in a sparser vegetation than formerly occurred. In 
Iowa the sharp-tail nested only in sandy areas where the vegetation 
was sparse, while the prairie chicken nested In the dense grass. It 
is probable that the sharp-tailed grouse did not nest in the original 
prairie areas of Wisconsin as they were probably mestly of the dense 
grass type. Rote also that the sharp-tailed grouse occurred in 
northeastern Illinois, which is the only part of the State that has 
sphagnum bogs. 
Food, Roost Cover, and Protective Cover of the Bog 
In Relation to $harp-Tailed Grus 
Jackson County 
Several flocks of sharp-tails were found In the vioinity of 
Birch Bluff in a large bog that f     a reservoir for a cranberry 
farm. As they may be so    here at all times of the year It is 
probable that a large bog provides everything that is neessary in 
the line of roost cow.er, protection aganst enemies and food for 
permanent residonce. However, bogs are generally bordered by 
swamps whiah furnish food in the form of alder atkins, white birh 
buds and catkins, willow buds and catkins, and mountain ash berries. 
The food eaten by the shar-tail in the bog proper consists during 
 
 

					
				
					
the summer of the leaves and flowers of Chamaodaphno Calyoulata, 
the berries and leaves of Yacciniun pennsyvanicuOT. Yaegiiu 
oanadense, Vac   i  .ocO      , and vaociriu, macrocarpon, and 
insects. During the winter the buds and catk ns of the bo 
birch Be      vumllavar. ,landulfera are eaten. 
The oranberry farmr reported that the sharp-tails ate a large 
number of branberries laocnig meocarpo_ in the cultivated cran- 
berry beds. 
ndhill Crane 
t  sandhill crane lone of our rarest birds. It spends most 
of its time in bogs and marshes. Most of the sandhill cranes seen 
in Wisconsin are migrants that stop over for a few weeks spring and 
fall on their way to and from Canada. Only a few nest in the State. 
For nesting they seem to prefer bogs or marshes that have patches of 
tamarack or spru-ee in them or around then. They do not like tama- 
rack swamps without open spaces. John Cardo, a farmer living on 
Shiprock Marsh, west of Coloma, has given us a fairly accurate de- 
seription of the changes that have taken place there during the 
last 50 years. Before 1890, all et what Is now hay-marsh was a 
tamarack swamp with no open spaces exept where small clearings had 
been made. Loads of poles were hauled to Portage by oxen. There 
were no cranes at that time. In 1894, following several dry years, 
the entire swamp was burned with only scattered patches of tamarack 
escaping. The plat was burned to a depth of 2 feet so that the tree# 
were burned out by  he roots. The trees that were not hauled out 
for firewood were piled up and burned in 1895. Crops of oats and 
millet were raised in 1895 on the burned peat, in 1895 it was too 
wet. After that grasses came in and by 1900 it became a hay marsh.