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Attack of the Grouse !

June 10, 2013

Grouse are big, bad and scary – if you startle a Ruffed Grouse hen and her chicks. She bursts from the brush – hissing and flapping in the most alarming way. Then, if you stand still, she proceeds to whine and drag her wing – as much as saying “I am wounded and easy to catch – follow me!” Then, if you follow her, she “slinks” through the bush, still whining and dragging that wing. Her chicks, in the meantime have scattered, waiting to “regroup” once the threat is gone. All the while, the hen is putting herself at risk with coyotes, dogs and other predators – all to give her chicks a chance to scatter.

No “fool hen” our Ruffed Grouse hen. Just a mother ensuring her chicks’ survival.

First encounter.  The element of surprise!

First encounter. The element of surprise!

I am big, loud and scary!  Go Away!

I am big, loud and scary! Go Away!

Look at me - not my chicks.

Look at me – not my chicks.

Are you still here? Follow me!

Are you still here? Follow me!

sneaking away

The victor: sneaking away

all photos and writing copyright Joanne Siderius

4 Comments
  1. that is so interesting.. I wonder how many mama Grouse have been killed trying to protect their brood.

    • I don’t know, but I bet against a real predator like a coyote or bobcat that the risks are far higher for her.

  2. Great shots of the protective mother!

    • She flew up right under my feet and I stood still and then followed her. Her brood got away safely. I hope all her encounters go so well!

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