Friends and foes

Goshawk, Wikimedia CommonsThe ruffed grouse is a very popular gamebird, mostly because it is such a thrilling and challenging bird to hunt.  For this reason, humans interact with ruffed grouse quite often, although perhaps not as often as the hunters would like.  Ruffed grouse are also hunted by fox, coyotes, and falcons.


Perhaps a not so-enjoyable interaction for the ruffed grouse would be its relationship with the nematode parasite Dispharynx nasuta.  This stomach worm usually infects young birds.  To read more about the believed cause of "grouse disease" click here.


Grouse are often hunted by goshawks in the winter, and their numbers are often found to be related to the number of snowshoe hare in the area, another favorite prey item of the goshawk.  Learn more about the goshawk here.


A not so well-known fact: Observers have found that wild turkeys and ring-necked pheasants steal the nests of the ruffed grouse and use them as their own.

Ring-necked pheasant, Wikimedia Commons