A ruffed grouse budding on a late afternoon

I’ve been watching for the grouse, curious about how well they’ve managed this winter. Now and then I get a glimpse of one when I’m walking in the woods. Last year’s wet spring during nesting time drowned a lot of nests and chicks. I’ve seen the snow roosts left behind after nights spent in the snow to stay warm, droppings and a few tracks, but so few they’re probably from only one bird.

Ruffed grouse budding in the trees

Ruffed grouse budding in the trees

I saw this bird fly from the ground to a low branch in an apple tree this afternoon. I was busy and though the camera was sitting within reach, I resisted. When it flew from the apple tree to trees much closer to the road I grabbed the camera, pulled on my boots and scuffled across the icy driveway to the road.

Ruffed grouse budding in the treesI didn’t disturb the bird. Surely it saw me standing in the middle of the road, ducking and weaving to find an angle that would allow me a shot through the branches. It continued to bud, paying me no attention. “Budding” is the term for eating the buds off the trees.

Ruffed grouse budding in the trees

She (I’m guessing) continued to bud after I came back to the house. It shouldn’t be long before the males start drumming. I’ll be listening, curious to see whether they start on time or later this year.


Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.