Posted by: atowhee | May 2, 2014

THIS CHICKEN AIN’T ‘CHICKEN’

I’d heard the stories. Now I’ve seen the action. Male grouse stalking and attacking anyone who trespasses. Yesterday we encountered a grouse whose possession of a public highway was akin to a bunch of militiamen in Nevada. You get offa my road, dud.SOGR CASUAL

SOGR EARLYI was guiding Marjorie, a birder from the Olympic Peninsula. We were on a day-long birding expedition and I’d warned her of the territorial male Sooty Grouse I’d seen a few days earlier along this road just outside Ashland. There he was, standing sentry duty along the edge of the road. She wanted pictures, so we got out of the car. A trespass the grouse would not over look, though at first he was casual, stalking us, checking us out but not physically aggressive…at the start.

SOGE STALKS
SOGR STALK1

SOGR STALK2SOGR GLANC

SOGR GLAREHe would follow us about, pushy but not attacking..at first.

SOGR STALKS5
But as we continued to not get the message and hung around in HIS territory his patience waned and the orange eyebrows came out. Then he began pecking. Shoes, pant legs. His first target was Marjorie as she had initially approached him for a photo. Now he was so close she couldn’t take aim. Even after I stepped between bird and birder the male grouse attacked, pecking at my pants leg. He did not attempt to use his large spur.
SOGR BROWS2In addition to the fluorescent eyebrows he began warning calls, a serious of deep throaty “tut-tut-tut” calls similar to what can be heard in the forest during courtship season which begins for this grouse in late winter.

SOGR BROWS3

SOGR FAC1

SOGR FACE

SOGR FACE2

SOGR PRFCT

SOGR SIDE

SOGR-BROWS1 When he left he was still in full possession of the roadside and full possession of his strut.

BLOG BIRD FEST BOILERPLATE
HERE IN ASHLAND, OREGON, THE KLAMATH BIRD OBSERVATORY IS SPONSORING OUR FIRST-EVER MOUNTAIN BIRD FESTIVAL. IT IS MAY 30-JUNE 1. WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER, CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD, WESTERN SCREECH-OWL, SANDHILL CRANES ON NESTING GROUNDS, BOTH EAGLES, NESTING OSPREY, ACORN & LEWIS’S WOODPECKERS, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD AND CHICKADEE, HERMIT AND MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER, CASSIN’S FINCH AND VIREO, BAND-TAILED PIGEON, BLACK TERN, RED-BREASTED AND WILLIAMSON’S SAPSUCKERS, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, LAZULI BUNTING, AMERICAN DIPPER, WRENTIT, TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE–SOME OF THE BIRDS WE EXPECT TO SEE. WITH A LITTLE BIRDING MOJO WE CAN ADD GREAT GRAY OWL, SOOTY GROUSE, MOUNTAIN QUAIL, NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL, SWAINSON’S HAWK, EVENING GROSBEAK AND NORTHERN GOSHAWK.


Responses

  1. […] For details of our encounter with testosterone-compelled male Sooty grouse, click here. […]

  2. […] of grouse, here’s my antique blog about a Sooty Grouse who years ago proclaimed ownership of a small road leading up from Ashland into the n… We came to believe that his mate was on a nest somewhere nearby. After the young were born, the […]


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