Friday, April 28, 2006
Beware the grouse!
This just in from Teresa, one of the caretakers at Barr Camp: Beware the grouchy grouse!
Hikers on Barr Trail beware! There appears to be a mated pair of blue grouse nesting just above the Bottomless Pit sign. Reports of people being henpecked on the hike through the area are true, sort of! The male blue grouse has been pecking at hikers' lower legs as they pass through his kingdom. Chivalry is not dead!
As if aggravating hikers is not enough, Mr. Grouse then follows them up the trail for fifteen minutes, making sure they understand his intentions that no one intrude upon his turf! A yellow eyebrow patch identifies the male grouse. Small and not well defined, it puffsup as he attacks. Full-blown attire for warfare is a flared tail featuring grayish white feather tips, and a puffed up neck exposing deep blue neck sacs. There have been no reports of the deep droning sounds the neck sacs help to produce. Not all those chased by Mr. Grouse have seen the neck sacs exposed.
According to the Golden “Birds of North America”, grouse are very capable runners. Perhaps there is a spot for him in the Pikes Peak Ascent, as his training on Barr Trail at over 10,000 feet has to put him ahead of runners from places like Florida!
Not to be Outdone
Mr. Grouse seems to have a young cousin who lives near Barr Camp. The caretakers awoke to a loud noise at sun-up. Upon inspection, they found a male blue grouse in full regalia attacking his reflection in the cabin windows. Two trips around the cabin with stops to body slam the window panes apparently tired him. He decided that sitting on the roof for a few hours was a safe place to rest as he had chased the “other guy in camp” away. Poor bird, the sunlight changed and there were no more reflections to fight off!
It is springtime in the animal world. You never know what you will find!