Ruffed Grouse

Yes, that’s a real photograph without editing. Quite a while ago, now, I saw LOTS of feeders in one yard. That was just five minutes away from home. I’m not shy knocked on the home’s door. The lady was very gracious, and welcomed me in. (I guess my short height and grey hair make me look safe.) Since then, she sent me this photo of her son and told me the story of how that wild ruffed grouse landed on his head. Her son promised that the photo had not been altered with one of those computer programs that can combine two pictures.

Here’s the mother’s story. One day, a bird hung around her son, Richard, who was perched in a tree stand, while hunting. Then, lo and behold, it landed on the railing of his stand, and then, on his shoulder. They were now eye to eye. That bird even let him pet its feathers. I know. This sounds a little bit far-fetched.

Now for the touching part of the story. Richard’s friend, Dave, used to hunt with this mother and son duo every year. When Dave knew that he did not much longer to live away about eight years ago, he expressed his wish for Richard to spread his ashes where the two had always hunted. Dave was sentimental about that spot, because that is where he shot his first deer. Keep reading. The story gets really remarkable. When Richard started spreading the ashes, that very same bird followed him. Then, the bird flew away and the ashes that landed in the snow were in the shape of a smiling face. The mother and Richard believe that Dave was smiling at them. Aw. What a nice story.

Time to learn about the ruffed grouse. Do you know that behavior is my favorite study of birds? In this article, that study will be placed early in the article. before you get bored. The male ruffed grouse mostly roosts alone at night by diving and burrowing into the snow. (Not me! I prefer hunkering under two quilts by the pellet stove to keep warm.) Transition back to the bird. Sometimes this loner will roost with other males. That group might even hang around together all winter.

Now for the discussion of sex. Oops, ornithologists call the process breeding. The ruffed grouse male might be promiscuous. (Uh-oh. I’ll try to be delicate. Let me forewarn you. You might want to prevent young children from reading this. That’s a joke. I personally believe that children can handle all bird behavior, if described well. Then, it might be easier to transition into the discussion of human sexuality. Another thought- By the time the child can understand these big words, she may already have been taught this in school and be able to teach her parents. Ha!

The ruffed grouse could possibly frolic for as little as a few minutes or hours. Actually, being promiscuous is all for the perpetuation of the species. Where does this breeding take place? On a lek, which the male reuses every year. After the first mating, it might participate in this behavior with more females.

Ornithologists think that the male only seeks a new partner when the female does not need his help in raising the young. That makes the behavior more respectable, in my opinion. What do you think? Maybe you feel that we can’t compare bird ethics with those of humans.

After the male has completed his job, He will stay to help for a little while. Only a few grouse species (sharp-tailed and sage), shorebirds and hummingbirds, follow this practice of leaving the family scene so soon. There is probably a logical reason for this difference in behavior. Maybe this follows Darwin’s survival of the fittest theory. Then, female has to raise the young all by herself. Enough of sex. I’m yawning. No comments from anybody about my behavior, please.

I have a lot more to tell you about the ruffed grouse. You’re welcome to visit my blog at