Chased by a Grouse

This morning on the trail there were baby birds starting to show up. This can be an interesting time to walk in the woods as baby birds may not be as discreet as their parents and may unintentionally make themselves known. As I walk along I always listen for chip notes coming from the forest floor and low brush.

white-throated sparrow

Many times these chip notes are coming from White-throated Sparrows – and the parents can get quite angry when an intruder comes into their domain. A little pishing and the parent bird will usually come up and start scolding. I usually hightail it out of there because I don’t want to attract any predators that may be waiting out there for just such an opportunity.

As I was walking along minding my own business, all of a sudden there was a great rushing sound of wings. I looked into the brush and saw several young Ruffed Grouse chicks flying further back into the woods. But the mother Grouse wasn’t following them, instead she was clucking and ruffling her feathers and trying to distract me. She was so upset the feathers on her neck were fluffed up – now I know why they have the name Ruffed Grouse – and she was fluttering her wings at me. I kept walking along the trail trying to get out of there, but she was following me! She kept up with me for a good 50 feet before she gave up and decided she had done her job and chased me away. Wow, I had heard of people getting chased but it had never happened to me. What a great and attentive mother she is.

 Red morph Ruffed Grouse

This Grouse was a “red morph”, there are also “gray morphs”.

Ruffed Grouse

Gray morph Ruffed Grouse – both color phases occur in our Crane Lake area.

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