Montana Outdoors

July 1, 2012

Baby blue

Baby Blue

Blue grouse chick, Dendragapus obscurus

This little fellow is just the size of a baseball at present, but he will weigh about two pounds when fully grown. Blue grouse, AKA Dusky grouse, are still plentiful in western Montana where they prefer to live at elevations around 6,000 feet or higher. (Photographed in the Reservation Divide roadless area).


  1. Cute! Where are its siblings?


    Comment by Sue — July 1, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    • There were at least four chicks and they spread out, which is just what they should do! Nothing like good instincts!


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

  2. Preciously adorable!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — July 1, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

    • Yes, they sure are adorable! I’ve seen lots of them in that area too, so they must have a high survival rate.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

  3. He is gorgeous! šŸ™‚


    Comment by Jo Woolf — July 2, 2012 @ 3:49 am

    • It is a member of the largest species of grouse in this region. The Blues share a lot of their habitat with Spruce Grouse, but live at higher elevations than Ruffed Grouse. They are all quite handsome birds.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  4. Adorableness! šŸ™‚ And look at that camouflage…


    Comment by FeyGirl — July 2, 2012 @ 5:35 am

    • I was impressed at how well he knew how to take advantage of that came at such a young age.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  5. I hope his mama was near, otherwise he’s in for a hard go.


    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — July 2, 2012 @ 6:33 am

    • Yes, mama was near by and I’m sure she called her young ones back to her when I moved away.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

  6. There is nothing cuter than a baby anything. Capturing him with your camera is a great accomplishment … if they are like the grouse around here, they blend in and hide very well.


    Comment by bearyweather — July 2, 2012 @ 6:53 am

    • They usually do hide very well, but there are times when they appear quite tame. The Blues are much wilder than the Spruce Grouse, who will sometimes come right up to a person.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

  7. How wonderful!


    Comment by Ellen Grace Olinger — July 2, 2012 @ 7:28 am

    • It sure is! I very much enjoy getting close looks at wildlife like this.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  8. Have seen adult blue grouse but never chicks. I did just kick up a family of four chicks and a mama ruffed grouse. Mama put on quite a show, scurrying pitifully along the ground making a mewing call. The young were just able to fly, however, so I couldn’t have hurt them anyway.


    Comment by Kim — July 2, 2012 @ 7:37 am

    • ‘Tis the season! A few days ago a turkey came to visit at our house with her 9 little ones. They are a little larger than softballs now.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

  9. I’m having visions of you being dive bombed by an irate mamma.


    Comment by Homestead Ramblings — July 2, 2012 @ 8:04 am

    • Grouse don’t seem to do that, or at least I’ve not encountered them doing it. They don’t go very far away though and will quickly gather the family together when the “danger” is gone.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

  10. Wow what a great find of a cute little guy!!


    Comment by dhphotosite — July 2, 2012 @ 8:31 am

    • I’ve seen lots of grouse this summer, after what was mostly a mild winter. The vegetation at the higher elevations is doing very well so far too, and that is good for the wildlife.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

  11. Too cute!! Nice capture!


    Comment by allbymyself09 — July 2, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    • I was very lucky to get close enough for a shot without my longer lens.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  12. absolutely adorable and a delight to see.


    Comment by Tammie — July 2, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    • I really enjoy seeing them and I’ve seen a lot of them this year. Most of the wildlife are doing well this summer.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  13. What a cutie! It knows just where to stand to hide in plain sight, too.


    Comment by sandy — July 2, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    • Isn’t it amazing that a baby has the instinct to effectively use it’s natural camouflage already. This little one jumped up on the bark of that tree and became motionless.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  14. Baby animals are always fun. I know from my own experience that it is rare to be able to get pictures of them too.


    Comment by Ratty — July 2, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

    • They are fun! As for photos, you just have to take what you get. I usually don’t have a telephoto lens on the camera while hiking because of the weight and bulk, so I have to just get lucky.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

  15. Hi Montucky, How cute! Precious little chick! Have a great Tuesday tomorrow!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — July 2, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

    • The Blue Grouse is one of my favorite birds and it’s good to see their families doing well! I hope you have a good Tuesday too!


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

  16. I hope you’ll remember where he was so you can go back later and get a full-sized bird picture. šŸ™‚



    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — July 2, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

    • I will go back there in a couple of weeks for huckleberries, but probably not late in the fall when this little guy will be full grown.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

  17. I’m just looking at a map of the fires across the nation nd see some in Montana too… When I see a photo of such a gorgeous chick, my heart quickens as I realize how much danger so much of our wildlife is facing this summer.


    Comment by snowbirdpress — July 2, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

    • Fire would be a real danger to birds of this age, but he will be able to fly fairly soon and then won’t be quite so vulnerable. The early fire season this year is indeed very damaging to the wildlife. We had a very wet spring this year and the bad news there is that all of the rain helped the grasses grow thick and luxuriant. A few weeks of hot, dry weather with some wind will create very dangerous fire conditions. So far in this local region most of forest in the higher elevations is still nice and green and the natural water, small streams, springs and seeps is in good supply. The problem now is that at the valley levels it is drying out and becoming vulnerable to human-caused fires.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

      • I appreciate the reports across the country. As early spring started I felt it would be an unusual year… and now I’m seeing it play out… I hope everyone will be extra careful this summer and fall with any kind of spark or fire at all.


        Comment by snowbirdpress — July 3, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

        • It could become a very dangerous year. At present there are over 200,000 acres on fire in Montana.


          Comment by montucky — July 3, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

  18. This is gorgeous, montucky! It sure is well camouflaged on the tree trunk.


    Comment by farmhouse stories — July 3, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

    • Thanks Cait! Pretty little fellow and nice to see the new families. We’ve had a few visits lately from a turkey and her 9 little ones (who are about the size of small chickens already).


      Comment by montucky — July 3, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

  19. I’m in awe of your wildlife photography. I have a baby blue jay that’s been following its parents to my little feeder. I keep trying to get a photo through the window, but it’s clear I’m going to have to just sit, not make a move for the camera when they show up!

    My best sighting this year was a pair of kildeer with their babies. The babies had bodies the size of ping-pong balls and long, long legs. They run like crazy but go motionless in the grass if sighted – as invisible as your grouse babe.


    Comment by shoreacres — July 3, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    • I love to photograph wildlife, but my photos are all photos of opportunity. If you’re out in the forests a lot you’re bound to get opportunities. Killdeer are sure pretty little things. There are some living in fields a few miles east of me. I haven’ tried to get photos of them though. A few years ago I got some nice shots of sandpipers that were nesting by the river. This year the water is so high that the area where they nested is still flooded. I wonder where they nested instead!


      Comment by montucky — July 3, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

  20. Isn’t he a cutie. My best to him and his clan.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — July 4, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    • He’s in pretty good shape, living in that area. Few hunters ever hike that far for grouse.


      Comment by montucky — July 5, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  21. He’s so well camouflaged, you did well to spot him and get such a lovely photograph.

    In this country grouse are predominantly reared for shooting and often gamekeepers kill all wildlife in the vicinity that they suppose may be any kind of threat to the young grouse. It’s a nasty business and the grouse are handsome birds!


    Comment by Finn Holding — July 5, 2012 @ 1:26 am

    • The four species of grouse in Montana are all wild and although they are hunted, their territories are so vast that their species are doing well, at least three are. One is a prairie dweller though and its habitat is under attack by energy exploration and well drilling.


      Comment by montucky — July 5, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  22. Simply said: Cute.


    Comment by Sartenada — July 5, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  23. This bird can definitely strike a pose!;)


    Comment by nyparrot — July 7, 2012 @ 8:54 am

    • And a pose it was too. It jumped to that spot, then froze; completely motionless. Quite an instinct for one so young!


      Comment by montucky — July 7, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  24. So cute, so precarious and so perfectly camouflaged – mother nature never ceases to amaze. What a shot!


    Comment by Barb — July 8, 2012 @ 7:56 pm

  25. So adorable!


    Comment by Fergiemoto — July 9, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    • He’s cute and fuzzy, but already is getting that kind of cocky look about him.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

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