We go every spring up to Powerline Pass to crust ski. This year spring has come on so quickly we ventured up a there a month early! The ptarmigan were plentiful and boisterous, gliding low over the snow between the groves of dwarf hemlock; clucking and carrying on in the usual way. It made us wonder if the warm weather is causing ptarmigan to court early? Or if it is just us, being here to see this in March rather then April. So when is the mating season for ptarmigan in Powerline Pass?
Comments from LEO Editors:
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, male willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) begin to drive other males away in March and April, so they can establish breeding territories. Male ptarmigan will defend these territories unless they are driven back to their flocks by a spring snowstorm. According to a map produced by Rick Thoman at the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, Anchorage temperatures were approximately 9 degrees above average in March 2019. Weather data from Wunderground shows no sizable precipitation events. Source: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Willow Ptarmigan Species Profile.