My husband has always had a great love and respect for wildlife and has a great knowledge of their ways and habits. But a little Ruffed Grouse had him scratching his head.

One day as my husband was walking along a path near a stand of poplar trees, he heard a rustling sound and out popped a Ruffed Grouse. It fluttered around his feet making a friendly chipping noise, which my husband tried to mimic. After its brief visit the grouse returned to the poplar stand.

The following day as my husband walked in the same area he clapped his hands and out came his little grouse friend again. This went on for some time with the grouse becoming friendlier each day. One time, he actually followed my husband home and stayed in the yard, waiting patiently until my husband finished his lunch. It had no fear of our small dog and seemed to want to play with her.

One day, as my husband was taking a break from garden work, his grouse friend came into the yard and hopped up onto the wheelbarrow.

This strange friendship went on for some weeks. Then suddenly, he no longer came bustling through the leaves when my husband walked by the poplars. We never saw the little bird again but a neighbour, working in his woodlot some distance away, reported a very friendly grouse in the area.

We are left wondering why a wild bird would seek out the company of humans, especially one whose surname just happens to be Fox.

Freeda E. Fox

Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia