Friday, April 16, 2010

Dumb Bird

A weird thing happened on our last run down the mountain as we headed back to our condo. Nancy and Kelly stopped downslope to wait for Bob and Cathryn to catch up, and noticed a Grouse slowly making its way over the snow, uphill, toward them. We stopped to watch the bird's progress, and pretty soon she approached our group. She walked in circles around each of us, coming within a foot or so, then took an intense interest in Nancy. For the next 10 minutes we watched this bird walk, in somewhat agitated fashion, around Nancy's skis and feet, pecking at her ski pole, attacking her ski pants and boots with her beak, and walking over the top of her boots. Nancy held out her hand to see if the bird would hop on, to no avail. The bird continued to appear agitated, and headed over to spend a couple minutes each with Kelly and Bob.  Finally, Bob moved to ski away, and the Grouse hopped on the back of Bob's ski briefly, as if to detain him or take a ride! What a weird bird! Or dumb bird, as some in our group described her. Tonight Nancy did an internet search to attempt to identify the bird, and decided it might be a Western Grouse. She also found a short video of a Grouse exhibiting exactly the same behavior, and it was described as an attempt to establish and protest it's territory. Live and learn.

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