Additionally finding Hazel Grouse means knowing the behavior of the Hazel Grouse. E.g. the Hazel Grouse is – although a shy bird – quite responsive or even aggressive during the mating season which has a first peak in September and then again in March/ April. In this time you can hear the mating call or mating song of the male. Best is the time in the early morning, but actually they are calling/ singing the whole day – in the right mood in the right environment.
The search for direct and indirect references to the Hazel grouse is difficult due to its hidden and secret life.
The classic approach: visual observations. Many people who work in the forest ( forest workers , hunters, foresters ) to know the hazel grouse. Ask
Sleeping tree mapping: Grouse sleep on trees. Therefore, you might find droppings under these trees. In summer, preferably look under deciduous shrubs, in the winter under coniferous trees.
Curl with the hazel grouse whistle or a tape recorder: Due to the territorial reaction of Hazel cocks you can attract this by mimicking the vocal expressions or animate him to respond to the call. Hazel Grouse in a low population density often do not respond. Thus this approach is not very promising
Another approach promising for Hazel Grouse search is to look of one of the dust-bathing locations. Hazel Grouse love to visit these areas as dust-bathing is one of the preferred comfort habits of the Hazel Grouse. These dust-bathing sites are usually on sunny places of embankments and exposed southern roadsides with little cover. Convenient sites are known to be visited sometimes for decades.
Whatever approach is used, you should not expect to see a Hazel Grouse just by standing in nature. Without a hide, organized Hazel Grouse –photography is useless. The hide should cover you and your equipment and should fit in the environment, where you set-up the hide. Even more important – and even much more important – than the aesthetical questions of whether you use camouflage or unicolored tent is to keep very, very quite. The Hazel Grouse hears excellent. And if it hears a sound, it will stay disappeared. Maybe they stay only a few meters away, but you will not see them. In the corner above you see a typical hide. Not beautiful, but helpful. The camouflage net was set-up 1 day before the first shooting.
After hours you could see the first results……….