poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘ruffed grouse

Partridge and Grouse – which are you???

with 6 comments

In New Brunswick, we have three birds which I confuse and name ‘Partridge‘. Remember I am a botanist and come by my bird knowledge through secondary sources.


a ruffed grouse or a grey partridge? the first clue is habitat (the mainly hardwood woodlands)


The Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is a bird of the woodlands (mostly hardwood) and is the bird heard ‘drumming’ in our woods in spring. Its plumage varies from pale brown to bright mahogany. It has a fanning tail and head feathers which stand up like a crown. The feathers around the neck ruff up too. Since these birds are locally referred to as ‘partridge’, there can be confusion between the Ruffed Grouse, the Spruce Grouse and the Grey Partridge.


Ruffed Grouse crossing the Old Shepody Road in eastern New Brunswick


Ruffed Grouse in our grey woods


The Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) is a bird of mainly coniferous woodlands. It eats spruce and pine needles. It is a chicken-like bird with variable plumage, mostly grey and black in the male and grey-brown in the female. The bird has a fanning tail, but does not raise its head feathers the way the Ruffed Grouse does. For a good photo of the Spruce Grouse see

The Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix) is a bird of open areas and grass lands. It is a roundish bird with a brown back and grey sides and neck. The chest-area has a darker brown mark. When startled, the bird flies upwards on rounded wings. For a good photo of a Grey Partridge see


All my best,


Written by jane tims

July 6, 2018 at 4:32 pm

sharing the grey woods

with 4 comments


a poor photo of a ruffed grouse in one of the trees behind our house


We share our grey woods with so many plants and animals. Sadly, our interactions do not always benefit the wild life.

The big panes of glass in our picture windows have brought disaster to so many birds.  If the sun shines just right, the glass is like a mirror.  When a bird sees the reflection of trees and sky, it must think it is flying deeper into the woods.   I find keeping the window curtains closed removes the mirror illusion and prevents some collisions.

Sometimes, we will hear a thump and by the time we investigate, the bird will have recovered.  Sometimes the bird is not so lucky.





alive in morning birdsong  thud thud thudding in my ears

slow as a pulse then faster  final beats too quick to count

a spruce grouse in the thicket  on a mound of leaves

drumming for a mate


all day

I thought of him

and smiled


buried in evening   birdsong   a thud on the window

the partridge sighing in the grass

tail narrowed   feathers ruffled at his neck  oddly bent

fingers on his throat

faint flutter

blood from his beak


I smoothed him into a mound of dead leaves

inspected the window

a feather stuck to the glass

moved as though nostrils drew faint breath


nothing broken



Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 14, 2014 at 7:02 am

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