Posted by: winteridge | January 2, 2013

The Bird!

bird419grouse3941(Borrowed from Alfred Hitchcock).  This is not really about Tug Hill, but the place I like to visit most often when I am not on The Tug.  Beaver Lake Nature Center near Baldwinsville NY.  They have a beautiful lake, some great trails, lots of wildlife, especially wild geese, and a host of family activities.  When I pass on, I want to have a bench dedicated there in my memory.

Anyway, I was hiking a trail there recently and encountered a beautiful Ruffed Grouse who appeared to be without fear.  He allowed me a few photo opps, and hung around for quite a while while I chatted with other visitors and pointed him out.  He would come out on the trail and circle around us, then wander into the woods a bit before circling back.


Now I have known the grouse, or partridge, or ‘pa’tidge’, for many years, hunted them with occasional success, and eaten a few, but never had one up close like this. Usually just a whirrrr of thunder as they fly up without warning, often after you have walked past their hiding place. Very unnerving. And their camo feather patterns make them very difficult to see in the leafy forest floor. A very remarkable bird. I finally left this one entertaining other hikers and went on my way.

A few days later, while hiking this same trail, I encountered ‘The Bird’ again in the same area. Again, he was friendly for a while, then became aggressive, pecking at my feet and ankles, and flying up at me to peck at my legs. Maybe he was tired of being photographed. He kept circling behind me and pecking at my ankles. When I decided to go on my way, he followed me down the trail, pecking at my trouser cuffs. Once a runner came by, and the grouse quickly disappeared, only to come back after me when the coast was clear. I was looking about for a stick to discourage this dirty bird, when another pair of hikers came by with cameras, and I turned Mr Grouse over to them and fled the scene. I have heard that other hikers have met this same(?) bird and photographed him, but I have not heard of others being assaulted. Strange.



  1. I just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and she ended the book with a story about a turkey she had hatched, who when she decided it was time to find a mate began following her (Barbara’s) husband around and pecking at his pants cuffs. Maybe your pa’tridge is similarly inclined.

  2. LOL, Barb. Those were not love pecks I was getting…did not turn me on. I think he was tired of being a photo study by everyone who came by. ” I vant to be alone!”

  3. Reblogged this on Finger Lakes Summer's Blog and commented:
    Neat story about meeting a Ruffled Grouse at the Beaver Lake Nature Center near Syracuse, by Wandering the Tug.
    Located just 15 minutes northwest of Syracuse, New York, in Baldwinsville, Beaver Lake Nature Center offers 9 miles of trails, 200 species of birds and over 800 varieties of plants.
    Great article in the Syracuse paper on winter activities at the Nature Center:

  4. I went back down that trail this spring, wondering if my bird had survived. I stopped where I had last seen him in the fall, and yes, sure enough, he came scuttling out to the trail…like, “where have you been?”. But I have heard from other walkers who have encountered him…there may even be 2 birds…this calls for further study…

  5. Incredible camouflage. In your second picture posted here I had to look for quite a while before I could even find the bird. Ain’t Nature grand?

  6. one would almost have to think there was a plan…

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