An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Ruffed Grouse Eggs Hatching

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If you stumble, as I did, upon a female Ruffed Grouse whose eggs have recently hatched, be prepared for her fury! When I entered nearby woods, the mother charged at me with her crest raised, tail spread and ruffs (black neck feathers) erect. (Her chicks had dispersed prior to this, well hidden by their camouflaged down.) Fiercely protective, female grouse with young are known for their aggressive behavior. A large grouse might weigh two pounds – to tackle a human weighing more than 50 times as much as oneself is pretty impressive.

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4 responses

  1. Is the average clutch size about 6 with grouse? I know turkeys are more prolific-
    (then again, ya never encounter a ‘flock’ of grouse!)

    June 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    • Ruffed grouse clutches are 9- 14, so this was a particularly small batch of eggs. Whether or not there were originally more, I don’t know!

      June 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm

  2. Elizabeth

    Was out in the field on Thursday with a colleague, and twice female grouse (grouses? grice?) planted themselves in front of us very conspicuously, clearly trying to be noticed. If we had been predators, I suppose we’d have chased them, presumably away from their broods.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

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