Harry and the Grouse

A couple of grouse have been hanging around our yard and orchard the past couple of weeks. A grouse for those who don’t know (including me):  ɡrs/ are a group of birds from the order Galliformes. They are sometimes considered a family Tetraonidae, though the American Ornithologists’ Union and many others include grouse as a subfamily Tetraoninae in the familyPhasianidae. Grouse inhabit temperate and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere, from pine forests to moorland and mountainside, from 83° North (Rock Ptarmigan in northern Greenland) to 28° North (Attwater’s Prairie Chicken in Texas).  That clears it all up doesn’t it? Rick says they are about the size of a hen pheasant if that helps you at all.

 This is a ruffled grouse from Canada which looks pretty close to the ones we have to me – but I am no bird expert. 

800px-Bonasa-umbellus-001edit1 (800x571)

 Apparently there are quite a few types of grouse, Siberian GrouseFalcipennis falcipennis, Spruce GrouseFalcipennis canadensis, Franklin’s Grouse, Falcipennis (canadensis) franklinii, Dusky GrouseDendragapus obscurus, Sooty GrouseDendragapus fuliginosus, ptarmigans: Willow PtarmiganLagopus lagopus, Red GrouseLagopus (lagopus) scoticus, Rock PtarmiganLagopus muta. Well, you get the idea. Lots of types of grouse and I have no idea which one(s) we have exactly. So, back to the two in our orchard.

Harry the cat has been stalking the two grouse around the yard and orchard. Harry is quite a hunter and has had his share of rodents and birds. The grouse pair – a mother and young adult we think – wandering around the yard bother him a lot. This morning the pair were near the corner of the orchard. The adult grouse is on the top of the dog house and the younger one is just barely visible behind the fence board near the (dead) tree well. 


Harry the cat notices the bird on the doghouse.


Harry is stalking the grouse from below . . .


Harry jumps / climbs up the dog run fence after the grouse who flies over to perch on the little shed on the left.


The grouse starts to scurry away as Harry is coming down off the fence after it.


The grouse comes full circle back to the top of the fence of the dog’s pen. Harry went off to lay low until his next opportunity. 


I must say this little drama worked out a lot better for the grouse than I expected. The dogs have completely ignored the pair and that is not always the case with fowl. The last time the dogs got a hold of a bird about that size they did this.


Only it was a chicken in the middle and it really didn’t go so well for the chicken. We have since trained the dogs not to play tug-o-war with chickens and they must think it applies to grouse too as they have (so far) left them alone. I don’t know about Harry though, he seems pretty determined to catch them.

3 comments on “Harry and the Grouse

  1. ML says:

    If you have two grouse are they called greese?

  2. Brenda says:

    Your versions are a lot more interesting, but according to the dictionary:

    1 grouse noun \ˈgrau̇s\

    Plural: grouse or grouses

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