Ruffed Grouse

Between 2001 and 2005 the ruffed grouse population suffered a 63% decline in Pennsylvania. No one was sure why but in 2015 and through 2016 Lisa Williams and her team confirmed that our state bird is suffering losses due to West Nile Virus (WNV) infection. Lisa Williams, Pennsylvania Game Commission ruffed grouse biologist, managed to create a network to look for ruffed grouse eggs in the wild, collect those eggs, find a propagator with a quarantine facility, and get those eggs all the way to that facility in Idaho via a volunteer force. Once hatched, the propagator then volunteered to drive the young chicks to the lab where the challenge study was carried out. Chicks were inoculated with WNV and within the first week 40% of the chicks died. After two weeks, an additional 40% of the chicks showed so much organ damage that they probably would not have survived in the wild.
After the challenge study was completed the findings in the lab were then tested on wild grouse in Pennsylvania. This type of study is very rare in the wildlife sciences: where lab findings are then tested in wild populations. Lisa rallied hundreds of hunters across the state to send in blood samples when they harvested a grouse.
By incorporating these findings into habitat management planning, the Game Commission and partners hope to direct habitat management efforts to areas where grouse populations have the best chance of responding.
A longer version of this film will be released in later 2017.

  • Tracy Graziano
    Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Bald Eagles, Pennsylvania Snowshoe Hares, Spirit Dog: America's Little Wolf, etc.
  • Hal Korber
    Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Bald Eagles, Pennsylvania Snowshoe Hares
  • Tracy Graziano
    Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Bald Eagles, Pennsylvania Snowshoe Hares, Spirit Dog: America's Little Wolf, etc.
  • Lisa Williams
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    wildlife science, natural history, wildlife research, wildlife agency, birds
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 9 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 24, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    digital, 1080p, some 720p
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Association for Conservation Information
    Springfield, Missouri
    United States
    August 2, 2018
    3rd Place
  • The University of Idaho Fish & Wildlife Film Festival

    United States
    October 7, 2017
    West Coast Premiere
    Award Winner, cash prize
  • Outdoor Film Festival & Tour 2018
    South Jordan, UT
    United States
    July 27, 2018
    Official Selection
  • NatureTrack Film Festival
    Los Olivos, CA
    United States
    March 23, 2018
    Official Selection
  • American Conservation Film Festival
    United States
    October 14, 2017
    official selection
  • Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    October 1, 2017
    North American Premiere
    official selection
  • FIIN
    Vila Real
    December 1, 2017
    International Premiere
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • YouTube
    Country: United States
    Rights: Internet
Director Biography

Tracy Graziano is one of two filmmakers at the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Here, she shoots on location throughout the state with a variety of 4k and 1080 HD cameras and edits in Final Cut X. Tracy is also a staff photographer, and operates the live broadcast for various agency events and meetings. Previous to working with the PGC, Tracy owned Moonfire Film Productions in Erie, PA for over ten years. Tracy produced science, wildlife and natural history documentary films and also operated the Big Green Screen large format theatre at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Tracy was also on the local Science North film crew for the “Mysteries of the Great Lakes” IMAX film, which premiered in May of 2008. She was a member of the Presque Isle Partnership Environmental Research Committee, the Presque Isle Audubon Society Board of Trustees, and the Compass Reading Center Board of Governors. Tracy holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University. She was the first woman to graduate from this intensive 60-credit program. She also holds dual degrees from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in Environmental Science-Biology and Applied Media Arts-Cinematography. Her most current work can be viewed on the agency YouTube page:

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Hal S. Korber has been a staff photographer, filmmaker, photo and video editor for the past 29 years for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He is part of a two person unit that covers statewide photo and video assignments on many of the 478 birds and mammal species as well as covering habitat improvement projects and wildlife law enforcement. Hal also is involved in the installation of live wildlife video cams for eagles, elk and osprey. He is well versed in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for agency research and film productions. Hal was the filmmaker and editor for “On The Trail of Pennsylvania Black Bears” with Gary Alt which generated over two million in sales. His video projects were recognized with 13 international awards such as the International Wildlife Film Festival, several national awards for his still photography, and creative displays and posters by Association for Conservation Information. Hal worked with public television WPSX, on creating a 26 episode wildlife series entitled Wild Pennsylvania. Hal was also part of a team that created one of the first wildlife viewing guides entitled: Pennsylvania Wildlife: A Viewer’s Guide. Prior to working for the commission, Hal worked for The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for seven years as a land manager, photographer and wildlife educator. He also worked on projects for The Carnegie Museum of Natural History and on photo and video projects for Powdermill Nature Preserve with Dr. Joseph Merritt to create for his book entitled Mammals of Pennsylvania. Hals still images and videos have been used worldwide in television programs and publications.

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