As readers of my blog know, I am an avid grouse hunter. I spend every free moment of the fall hunting season tramping up and down mountain sides in search of these intriguing and elusive birds. Its not unusual to hike MANY miles and not see a single bird. So when a grouse hen strutted out into the road during a recent bike ride I was very surprised. The grouse emerged from the brush along side the trail and stood in front of my bike about 15 yards ahead of me. At first I thought it was wounded and then when it slowly started to walk toward me, I thought perhaps it had been habituated and wanted food (like ducks on a populated lake.)
However, the grouse walked closer and closer and then flew up and perched on my front bike tire. As I was staring at it in amazement, it suddenly launched right at my face and started pecking and scratching at me!
I fought the initial attack and watched in astonishment as it charged again... this time pecking at my ankles and shins. Half amused and half angry I jumped on my bike and pedaled away with the grouse in hot pursuit.
After riding for a spell I realized that the hen must have had a new brood of young chicks somewhere just off the trail and she was simply protecting them. Amazing mother.