Over the past seven years I’ve delighted in hearing a male ruffed grouse “drumming” in the woods. A few times I’ve even flushed it from its hiding place. However, I have never been able to see the bird clearly.
A couple days ago I was walking through the snowy woods and noticed lots of feathers strewn about. Aha! Some bird was caught and killed. I looked around and found one (of two) sites where the deed was done. Here’s one of them:
I took lots of photos of what I found, including some tracks which led me back to the other location where I believe the bird was actually killed. I will spare you the gory scene and close-up photos. Given the feathers and what I found at the second location, I knew it was a ruffed grouse which had become someone else’s meal.
I felt sadness because I’ll miss this bird (whether it was a male or a female). I’m hoping there are some more around to keep drumming for me. I accepted the gift of ruffed grouse feathers and the opportunity to practice my novice tracking skills (even though I never could find other tracks to tell me exactly who had lived for another day).
P.P.S. And this morning (January 25) I disturbed two ruffed grouse as I walked down the driveway. Yes! Yes! Yes!