Why the Chicken Crossed the Road


This week’s photo, taken June 15, 2014 in Yakima County, WA, features our second RUFFED GROUSE of the day.

It’s day 3 of the 2014 Washington Ornithological Society conference, and the lead driver of our 4-car convoy has just noticed a RUFFED GROUSE up ahead on the gravel road. When all vehicles stop, I step out of our car to snap some photos, but the skittish chicken-like bird immediately explodes into the air and flies away. My one photo shows an over-exposed, blurry and downright lousy depiction of a grouse during lift-off. Nevertheless, it’s the best photo I’ve ever taken of this elusive species – because it’s the ONLY photo I’ve ever taken of this species.

A few miles later, we spot another Ruffed Grouse in the road, and this one has attitude. Instead of flying away, it stands its ground and seems to dare us to approach. But before we can make our move, a guy – who is not part of our group – makes his own move. No longer willing to wait in his pick up truck behind our last car, he steps on the gas and begins to pass our stopped caravan and head up the road. We figure that the grouse will fly for sure, but to everyone’s surprise and relief, it stays put as the truck rolls by.

With renewed hope for better looks and finer photos, we creep forward in our cars, a short distance at a time. Each time we stop and get out, you can hear rapid fire camera clicks from the paparazzi among us. Eventually, the bird runs across the road and disappears into the brush.

So, why’d the chicken cross the road? To get away from us, that’s why.

To purchase prints or notecards of Joe’s Best Bird Photos, go to:


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why the Chicken Crossed the Road

  1. Chris VB says:

    It’s hard to call a bird that big “cute” but this one is pretty cute.

  2. kathydoremus says:

    Yes – I feel like a bird paparazzi at times!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s