Grouse are ground-dwelling, chicken-like birds. They are larger than quail and lack the long tails of pheasants. They feed on seeds, buds, berries and insects. Appearing below are the Ruffed Grouse and the Spruce Grouse.

ruffed grouseA Ruffed Grouse, which seems to be the partner of the one, below left, is seen without crest or ruff. It lives in the brush behind my home.

ruffed grouseThe mottled feathers of a grouse serve as an effective camouflage in the shadowy world of brush. The camouflage is less effective over grass.

ruffed grouseBoth male and female Ruffed Grouses have a crest and a ruff, although they are not always erected. The male’s ruff is larger and blacker so, this bird is probably a female.

ruffed grouseA little dog flushed this Ruffed Grouse from its usual position on the ground. It then sat in the tree, perfectly still, apparently attempting to look as inconspicuous as a branch.

ruffed grouseA male Ruffed Grouse in display: is neck ruff and his tail spread. Ken Anderson

ruffed grouseA male Ruffed Grouse in display: is neck ruff and his tail spread. Ken Anderson

ruffed grouseThe mottled plumage of the Ruffed Grouse normally blends beautifully with its surroundings. Consequently, the bird avoids detection by moving slowly. This bird also moved very, very, slowly—a comical tactic in snow.

ruffed grouseThis Ruffed Grouse has its tail spread, but not its ruff. Doug Thorburn

spruce gooseA Spruce Grouse waits for it chick (right) to catch up. Nicole Tremblay

spruce grouse chickIt is mid June and this Spruce Grouse chick is tagging after its mother. Nicole Tremblay

spruce grouseThe Spruce Grouse has a heavier body than does the Ruffed Grouse. It inhabits conifer forests (not necessarily of spruce), where it is amazingly confident of its camouflage. This enables it to be easily approached, a situation which has earned the epithet: fool’s hen. These females were easily approached. Doug Thorburn

Information from Wikipedia: Ruffed Grouse, Spruce Grouse.

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