Ruff Work

Who’s feet be these?

Two ruffed grouse wandered along our driveway — a little pigeon-toed —  leaving the message of their passing in the snow.

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Ruffed grouse tracks, coming and going

These “wild chickens” have spent several weeks around our wooded yard, pecking for insects, eating buds and rose hips.

Someone one described the ruffed grouse as a lunchbox on legs. An apt description. It’s high on the menu of many meat-eaters including owls, coyotes and foxes.

Ruffed grouse have a weird habit of freezing when danger threatens — which perhaps gave rise to another nickname, fool hens. Freezing is all well and good when you blend into the background. When you’re standing in the middle of the road and a car is bearing down on you, well, not so much.

The Ruffed Grouse Society has an excellent website — info, photos and, of course, an audio clip of drumming. (The male grouse is quite musically inclined when in the mood to mate. Sounds sort of like an old steam engine picking up speed as it leaves the station.)


Ruffed grouse   Bonasa umbellus
October 16, 2016

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On Track

 

I wandered a muddy dirt road after the recent snowfall melted looking for tracks. This day I got lucky — I also spotted the track-makers.

I surprised two white-tailed does and their fawns grazing in a nearby field. A flick of their tails and the does disappeared into the bush before I got my camera out.

The fawns were a bit slower (wake up kids, it’s a dangerous world out there) — no time to focus, only to click the shutter before they, too, vanished among the trees.

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White-tailed deer   Odocoileus virginianus