GROUSE.

The name Grouse is supposed to come from gorse — furze or heath — and is applied to many game birds in the family Tetraonidae.

The great majority of Grouse belong to the northern part of America, but in England the Grouse may be said to have had an effect upon history, as parliament used always to rise when the season for shooting Grouse arrived!

The red Grouse is indigenous to Great Britain, but is represented in other northern countries by the Willow Grouse, which assumes a protective white color in winter, except that the tail remains black.

The Ruffled Grouse, or pheasant, has caused much dispute in reference to how it produces the drumming sound which can be heard at a long distance, and which musical exercise is no doubt intended as a noisy courtship in wooing his mate.

     

The distinctive name, "Ruffled," comes from the ruff of dark feathers, with iridescent green and purple tints which surrounds the neck. This bird has a slight crest and a beautifully barred tail. Its note is a hen-like cluck. No bird has handsomer eyes, with their deep expanding pupils and golden brown iris.

In a beautiful ravine — which was carpeted with green moss a foot deep and shaded by evergreen trees hung in soft gray mosses — on an uninhabited island in northern Lake Superior, I once saw some Canada Grouse so tame that it appeared as if they might easily be taken in ones hands. The parent birds were on one side of the trail, the young ones in a tree on the other side. All kept quite still for me to look at them, only the young ones lifted their wings slightly, as if wishing to fly across to their parents, who seemed to have an expression as of astonishment at seeing so strange a sight as a human being in their unfrequented solitudes. The gentlemen of our camping party declared that these Grouse were so tame it would seem a crime to shoot them.


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