Garden Party

Ruffed grouse paid us a visit on this snowy afternoon.

First one arrived …

Ruffed grouse

Not finding much of interest in the snow-dusted grass, the saskatoon bush seemed a better prospect.

Ruffed grouse

Then a second showed up …

(What were they eating? Chickadees cleaned off the berries a long time ago).

Ruffed grouse

And finally a third …

Ruffed grouse

They stayed for several minutes, almost hidden among the branches, pecking, looking, pecking some more. Then the party was over. One by one they hopped down and wandered away.


Ruffed grouse   Bonasa umbellus

16 thoughts on “Garden Party

      1. It’s a treat when they visit. This summer a hen Blue Grouse and three chicks lived here on my property until the young ones were as large as their mother. It’s very rare to see Blues at this low elevation, but I sure enjoyed their stay.

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      2. How lucky for you. (And for the grouse who found a protective place to grow up.) We have blue grouse in Alberta but not around us. They are gorgeous birds.

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  1. Just today, I read this interesting article about ways to minimize fence hazards for the sage grouse. All of the grouses seem to be wonderful birds — I don’t even know if we have them in Texas. I ought to look that up. (I did. Our only grouse are the greater and lesser prairie chickens, which also happen to be threatened.)

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    1. A fascinating article! I didn’t realize fences posed such a threat. We have ruffed grouse. Spruce grouse are also common in the boreal forest but I’ve never seen any around here. Don’t know that fences pose a problem for them. I do know that windows are deadly — we lost 2 beautiful female grouse this summer (including one that laid an egg as she died) when they ran into windows in our house. Although we put stickers on the windows and hang fluttery things birds still fly into the glass. Partly due to reflections and partly due to the fact that they can see through a window and think they can fly straight through. Sad.

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    1. That crest does give them a rather different look — I’m not sure of its purpose. Sometimes the crest is almost flat and barely discernible; other times it’s raised right up. Perhaps a signal to other grouse? White tail deer, for example, flash their tails — holding the tail upright and moving back and forth so the solid white underneath hair is quite visible, a sign of danger and flight.

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  2. Great pictures, Sally. We are a little low for grouse where we live but see them frequently when we drive up the road a few miles. I love the way the males boom away during mating season, a sound that can resound for quite aways through the forests. –Curt

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  3. You reminded me of one of those events you don’t see very often. Last week whilst eating breakfast, Sunday, on the French go shooting day…there right in front of our window were a family of grouse walking past. Daddy, mummy and four babies, AND one baby at the back with one leg – hopping along. The perfect photo opportunity and my camera was upstairs, and we have to go outside to go up – we live in a funny little temporary house. The grouse flew and were no where to be seen by the time I had opened doors and made far too much noise. Tried to find them along the lane – no trace. We even thought perhaps we had imagined them. And they had taken a shortcut from the hunters by going via road – smart – unlikely to get any gun fire along the roadway. It seems a lot of us loose the photo opportunities.

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    1. My sympathies Judi. It seems if I leave my camera at home I’m almost guaranteed to see something photo-worthy. How lucky that you got to see the grouse anyhow — a memory to keep for sure. As for the little one-legged chick, it’s amazing how animals can survive their disabilities.

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