Ruffled feathers

We were driving back roads of northern MN forest bogland over the holiday weekend and came across a couple of families of Ruffed Grouse by the side of the road.  One female accompanying her four chicks was disturbed enough by the big white predator (our car) bearing down on her and her family that she got quite annoyed, ruffling her feathers to warn us off.

This is her "I'm annoyed" look.

This is her “I’m annoyed” look.

Riffed Grouse chicks wondering what's the matter with mom.

Ruffed Grouse chicks wondering what’s the matter with mom.

And now she ruffles those neck and breast feathers to show how big she is.

And now she stands up straight and ruffles those neck and breast feathers to show how big she is.

Ruffed Grouse are usually found in the interior of the deciduous forest where their mottled plumage helps camouflage them.  You rarely know they are there unless you hear a male drumming or happen to catch them flying in a burst of speed away from you.  The hen may have led her chicks to the roadside grass to hunt for insects.  There certainly was a great surplus of flies of all sizes buzzing around us each time we stepped out of the car.

4 thoughts on “Ruffled feathers

    • So true! I guess I didn’t realize what the “ruffed” referred to until I saw the hens ruffle up their neck feathers. It really is a ruff.

  1. This bird would be a lifer for me. In fact, I’m hoping to head to Western Maryland and West Virginia at some point this summer, and the Ruffed Grouse is on my ‘I hope I see one…’ list! Great photos!

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