Male Spruce Grouse


In the spring, when you take a walk in the forests around the Vancouver area, you often hear a low pitched sound that is particularly hard to locate. We've heard wild speculation from fellow hikers that it comes from anything from owls to moose. It comes from the male Spruce Grouse as he is establishing his territory and trying to attract a mate. This photograph of such a grouse was made in Manning Park on a Labour Day weekend outing. The bird is easily approached once you find him -- but they are somewhat difficult to find.

We have had several encounters with grouse before, including a male standing his ground in front of our quickly approaching Volvo. Grouse are remarkably stupid birds. We did manage to stop in time and decided to take some pictures. That grouse decided to attack the camera, pecking earnestly on the lens shade without inflicting any harm. We did encourage it to go back into the forest, but we left with a vague worry that it would return a lose a battle with some other vehicle.