What Is the Origin of the Pennsylvania State Bird?


Quick Answer

The Pennsylvania State Bird, more properly referred to as the state game bird, is the ruffled grouse, otherwise known as the partridge. Mrs. Harry J. Shoemaker and various members of the State Federation of Women's Clubs suggested the bird, and the state officially adopted it on June 22, 1931. Bonasa umbellus, the scientific name, shares it adoption date with the state tree, the eastern hemlock.

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Full Answer

There is not much information about the actual adoption process. The legal paperwork from the state legislature, the "Act of Jun. 22,1931, P.L. 662, No 234" only has two sections, one stating that the ruffled grouse was adopted as the state game bird, the other stating the act would be enforceable immediately. If there was any discussion or opposition, there is no written evidence.

Pennsylvania does allow hunting of its state bird, which, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, is the most popular game bird in the state. Various intermittent weeks from the end of October through the end of January make up the season. Dates change every year.

At the same time, the wildlife division is doing nest counts as of 2015, with the public helping to find the nests and send in the locations by GPS. Hunters send in wing and tail feathers from their kills into the Game Bird Section to help in grouse population surveys.

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