Skip to content

Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society feeds vulnerable ruffed grouse

PROWLS: Rescue of the week

SONIC BOOM: Picked up by a resident Old English Sheepdog, this plump ruffed grouse had no injury but appeared to be too vulnerable to be left alone.

Initially, the human residents had noticed it sitting in the pasture being gently nuzzled by their horse. After it was fed an abundance of dandelion greens and seeds at Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society, and with no injury being discovered, it was released near the Blackwater trail, where there is still a sizable forest and no horses. She quickly began checking out her new area and soon disappeared into the undergrowth.

When displaying for females or defending territory, the male grouse stands atop a log, rock or low dirt mound with crest, ruff and tail erect, puffing up to nearly double its normal size and pumping his wings to create a rapid-fire drumming sound, a miniature sonic boom which can travel up to a quarter mile, much like an engine trying to start.

With his cocky crest and a tail marked by a broad, dark band near the tip, displaying males expose a rich black ruff of neck feathers, which give them their name.

After mating, the female ruffed grouse chooses a nest site and creates a bowl-shaped nest, lining the bowl with vegetation plucked from the edge of the nest site. Laying nine to 14 eggs, she wants a clear view of predators. Incubation is about 23 to 24 days and chicks can walk and feed themselves within 24 hours of hatching.