Montana Outdoors

August 15, 2007

Ruffed grouse

Filed under: Birds, Environment, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Ruffed grouse — montucky @ 7:46 am

Yesterday while chasing the Chippy Creek fire I ran into this guy who was nice enough to pose for me. The Ruffed grouse is much smaller than the Blue and usually lives at lower elevations, usually in the thick brush of small canyons which earns them another common name around here (Brush Pheasant). He’s about the size of a medium to small chicken.

Once I was within 10 feet he decided to retreat. Even though I am 100 times bigger than he is, his retreat was accompanied by a strut and a swagger as he moved into the thick brush. If you don’t love a critter like that, you just don’t know what’s up in the outdoors!

Ruffed grouse

Ruffed grouse


  1. what a pose. I’d love to see the swagger that goes along w/ that!


    Comment by silken — August 15, 2007 @ 8:07 am

  2. They’re fun to see up close. Often you won’t see them until they explode into flight right at your feet. That is guaranteed to wake you up!


    Comment by montucky — August 15, 2007 @ 8:25 am

  3. He looks a little PO’d. Maybe you should call before your next visit.


    Comment by Pinhole — August 15, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  4. Yes, he does. He should just be happy I didn’t step on him. He also ought to be a whole lot more alert. Not far from where I saw him there was a pile of Grizzly scat, and that big bear isn’t nearly as considerate as I am of the other citizens of the forest.


    Comment by montucky — August 15, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  5. I would definitely be frightened. After all, his ancestor is a T-Rex – something my parrot never lets me forget.


    Comment by wolf — August 15, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

  6. You’re right. I forgot about that! Over time they’ve lost the size, but retained the attitude!


    Comment by montucky — August 15, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

  7. Hubby and I were just talking about the way a grouse will just jump out of nowhere and scare you half to death. This guy is really handsome I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these. The shots are great. I’ll keep a lookout but I’m pretty sure I’ve never see this guy before. Great shot.


    Comment by aullori — August 16, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

  8. They’re very common around here at the low elevations (below 6000 feet). They like to be close to a little water seep and prefer brushy canyons and draws. They specialize in scaring people by waiting until you step practically on them before exploding into flight. I think they really enjoy doing that!


    Comment by montucky — August 16, 2007 @ 11:05 pm

  9. Very kind of it to let you get close enough for the lovely photos you took!

    I quite agree with your comment on them scaring people – I’ve nearly jumped out of my skin from flushing un-seen Blue Grouse (grouses? grice?) a number of times!


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — August 18, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

  10. A few days ago I hiked up to a lookout not far from here. On the hike I saw around 20 Blues and they caused about 10 near heart attacks! You never get used to it.


    Comment by montucky — August 18, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

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