I hear there’s a movement started to make the Partridge, or the Ruffed Grouse, the Wisconsin State Game Bird. This would be quite a feather in the cap of Park Falls as we have the distinguished title of Ruffed Grouse Capital of the World.
First off, are they a Partridge or a Ruffed Grouse? Make up your mind, people.
Personally, I like Partridge better. It rolls off the tongue easier and hey, it reminds me of the Partridge Family. You know, the ’70’s television show with David Cassidy. David’s mug graced my teenage bedroom walls and I was sure we were destined to be together. Truly.
Okay, I know, I’ve gotten WAY off track, but I was never aware of Ruffed Grouse until our town received that lofty honor. SO, I will refer to them as Partridge.
That being said, I do not like Partridge. I will allow that they aren’t an ugly bird. They are plump and juicy for those that like to eat them. I do not. Some find their drumming in the woods to be entertaining. I do not. In fact, the sound, to me, is like that in a movie that insinuates impending doom. I will explain this later. I will admit I enjoy riding around the countryside with my husband as he is in pursuit of Partridge but I am always up for a nice ride in the country and am genuinely happy when he shoots one.
Okay, here’s the scoop. I was riding my bike on a beautiful fall afternoon. As I ventured down a hill, a line of little brown puffballs came running across the road. Baby Partridge. I thought ‘how cute’ and, in the spirit of pure kindness and love of nature, slowed to a stop to let them pass. Suddenly, out of the ditch came the Mother of all Partridge. She tried attacking my bare, delicate ankle. I screamed like a banshee and pedaled back up the hill. Lungs burning, heart pounding, I watched as the bird went to her babies and ushered them into the woods. I stayed at the top of the hill and waited, and waited.
After a time, they had to be deep into the woods by then so I flew down the hill, still a bit traumatized, but enjoying the wind in my hair and the sun on my back. Well, this is where I learned what devious, manipulative, and vicious birds they are. The bird was obviously lying in wait for me, hiding in the tall grass in the ditch, beady little eyes watching, sharpening her talons, ready for the kill.
As I passed, the Mother of all Partridge flew at the back of my head, hissing, spitting, her sharp talons trying to inflict pain and bloodshed. I remained just out of her reach and pedaled for all I was worth, screaming at the top of my lungs, heart pounding in panic. The bird chased me for about a hundred yards and then, when she felt she had me at the edge, flew off. I biked back to the house where my husband offered no sympathy whatsoever. In fact, he laughed. Yes, folks, he laughed.
So now you understand my dislike of Partridge/Ruffed Grouse. They are mean little buggers and I wish all the hunters the best of luck.
As a side note, I hit one with my car once. I know, by now you’re thinking I did it on purpose, but I didn’t. The thought did cross my mind that there was now one less in the world and I may have stifled a grin. I know, that’s not nice of me.