RIP to my backyard grouse

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RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby TinaTC » Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:59 am

I haven't been around much, but I wanted to pay tribute to my grouse. She's been hanging around my house since I moved in 3 years ago. I knew she must be pretty old, at least 3. I'm assuming she was female because the male grouse would show up in the spring to woo her. I don't know if she ever had a nest.

I didn't see her at all yesterday, so this morning I went out back to look around. I found her feathers scattered everywhere at the edge of the woods. I was worried this might happen. Lately she had been hanging around the bird bath and bird feeder all the time. I could tell she was really slowing down. I feel like I lost a pet. I never even got a good photo of her, so this one from last summer will have to do. RIP, grousey. You will be missed.

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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby deadstream guy » Sat Jun 25, 2016 11:41 am

Bummer Tina. We had a cool male grouse hanging around a drumming log a short distance from our house this spring. Loved hearing him drum, plus loved seeing him strut around on his log showing the world how great he was. I found a similar pile of feathers as you. I hate it when that happens! One silver lining to the grouseless cloud....maybe they went to feed a family of young goshawks or other cool birds/beasts. It is, after all, Ma Natures grand scheme.
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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby TinaTC » Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:36 am

Thank you DSG. I'm still missing her. I keep looking out the window for her. The yard looks so empty now. The male used to drum next door behind my neighbor's house. Last year they decided to deforest their lot in favor of a green lawn, and they must've gotten rid of his log. I didn't hear any drumming this spring at all, but he still came around to strut his stuff. Here's a shot of him.

If only the hawks would be just as happy with a tasty red squirrel. I have plenty of those around.
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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby deadstream guy » Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:36 am

That's a neat photo!
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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby Rick Baetsen » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:19 pm

Tina, sorry for the loss of your backyard or pet Partridge. As Deadstream said it is all part of nature but that does not make it any easier when one looses a friend, especially one has known or spent time with for years.

Over the years I have spent a lot of time with what most people would call tame ruffed grouse, most of them just curious and or aggressive during the Spring mating and courtship period. I spent the most time with one up in the Keweenaw near Lake Linden, from Oct 2007 through March 2015. It was a special bird that would allow me to walk with or more so crawl with in as it did its daily activities on the forest floor. Usually it was in my face or on my shoulder or legs and most the time I had to work to get it back far enough for a natural looking photo.

Knowing that the ruffed grouse has about an 18-24 month average life span, I got right back up there right after the snows came to get some winter snow images, not knowing how long it might survive living in an area with a lot of raptors and furred predators. That was the second trip in Dec 2007 and I made 29 more trips up there over the next seven or so years. My last trip in March 2015 I searched hard for him as he had not been out the past couple days, which was unusual as we were going into the courtship season. But, I found evidence where a raptor had taken him in the snow.

And people asked why I talked of it like an old friend, and I just said that he was a friend. I talked with pretty bird the ruffed grouse, just like I do our dog and I figure that over the years that bird come to understand or know at least a dozen or more words. I could talk him into moving over into a new area for a better background for a photo. Once I got him to follow me and I got him into position for a photo in between two pink ladyslippers. Another time, I called at him to come to me to get him to walk through forty yards of thick woods to get up on its drumming log. Duane Wilcox was surprised that not only did it come over to my location on the drumming log but that it went into a full strutting display posture, allowing us both to get some nice photos.

My time up there was for photography and I got all the photos (almost 9,000) I wanted or needed over the years but now even more than a year after "bird" is gone, I still miss my time in his woods with him.

I am glad you got to spend the time you had with your partridge.

Rick Baetsen
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Michigan Outdoor Writers Association
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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby Rick Baetsen » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:27 pm

And wanted to add that is a great photo of the strutting ruffed grouse showing his fanned tail and raised ruffed.
Rick Baetsen
Rick Baetsen
USFS-USFWS Ret.
Michigan Outdoor Writers Association
Walloon Lake and Munising, Michigan
http://www.rickbaetsen.com
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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby deadstream guy » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:44 am

Cool story Rick!
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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby TinaTC » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:57 am

What a wonderful experience, Rick. That was one old grouse! Though my girl wasn't quite as tame and trusting, she was starting to get that way this spring/summer. I know what you mean about that connection. Seeing her in the yard always gave me a sense of tranquility. Just last weekend, I was hosing down the back yard because it was hot and dry. She emerged from the undercover and just stood there under the spray, right in front of me. That was one of the last times I saw her.

Thank you for understanding and sharing your story. I bet you got some awesome shots of him.
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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby SandyLee » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:16 pm

Hi Tina....
So sorry about the loss of your lovely grouse friend. :cry: They do become like "family" in a way.
- Sandy
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Re: RIP to my backyard grouse

Postby TinaTC » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:23 pm

Thank you Sandy! I still miss her.
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