Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The day school let out I was off to Maine with my sister. We stay at a small lake called Songo Pond (the picture above) which is about 5 miles south of Bethel. Bethel is located in the Western hills of Maine. We spent a great week relaxing. One day we were driving around Sunday River area and came upon this chicken like bird. Checking the book quickly I found out it was a Ruffed Grouse. This female stayed in the middle of the road for quite a few minutes before hurrying across the road into the bushes. We went up the road a bit and turned around. As we came back we spotted a smaller grouse in the middle of the road. This was one of the female's chicks. We watched and after the first one was across, a second one came out of the bushes and hurried across the road. We watched as one by one about 5 of them crossed the road. The female stayed in the bushes barely visible and watched and waited also.
Looking into the ruffed grouse a bit there are two morphs; the brown and the gray. Over all this female looks like the brown morph, but her tail looks gray, but perhaps that was the light. Also the book says that the gray morph is more common in the northern parts of their range which is what I would say Maine falls into. They have a tuft of hair at the top of their heads, visible on both this female and the chicks. The males have a ruff usually black around the neck which is seen during display. The male drums by flapping its wings faster and faster to attract a female. After mating takes place the male has no further role;the female rears the chicks. They live in mixed desiduous woods and are not usually seen unless flushed and then they rouse so quickly you don't get a very good view. I felt very priviledged to get as good and as long views as we did.