Yesterday morning I decided to visit a North Quabbin gate where I have found several nice clusters of Pink Lady’s Slippers in the past. After photographing them I started walking back towards my car when I spotted another of my goals for the morning, a triple bloom Starflower. I set up and was about to make my first exposure when I heard a low chirp nearby. It was closer than nearby, a Ruffed Grouse was at my feet and decided to check out the flower I was about to shoot. I’ve seen them before but just for fleeting moments as they are usually afraid of humans. But as I learned later Ruffed Grouse can be territorially defensive and several folks commented when I posted these on Facebook that they had similar experiences only the birds were aggressive. This one was not aggressive and allowed me to be close…or rather would not stop being close to me.
When I say close, I mean quite. These were taken with my iPhone and were only slightly cropped. I had my 180 mounted and it was just too close. When I backed up to fit it in the frame it followed me so that didn’t work. I am pretty shaky so they aren’t as sharp as they might be but the shots do record the experience. I am lucky he/she did not peck at the phone. I’ve never experienced an encounter with a wild bird like this. I am told they are called “fool birds” because some make themselves so easy to shoot…both for hunting and photography.
When it came time for me to continue to the car, I had to feign attack to get it to not follow me. It wasn’t taking the hint and followed me for a few hundred feet before I finally convinced it to stop. I was parked next to a small highway and didn’t want it to be in the road.