This morning I was brushing my teeth as I do with the help of the hose outside the log cabin I have made a home for much of the last year. I heard a trrrrrrrrrrr splat, trrrrrrrrrrr splot, trrrrrrrrrrr plop. After the first time I heard it I looked up. A grouse was trying unsuccessfully to fly over the chicken wire mesh that defines the top half of our anti deer garden fence.
At first I thought there was only one bird but a second smaller bird made the same attempt twice, the larger bird tried it only once.
I went in to take a look. They had moved to the south side of the garden and were near the gate but in the tall ferns that mark the used out edge of the garden. As I got closer the larger bird flew away, parallel to the fence not in to it. The smaller bird I could hear in the grass. I gave chase. It did not run fast or far. I managed after a short while to pick it up, with both hands in case it wanted to get defensive.
The poor thing was weak its neck was at an odd angle, not quite holding up its head at the right angle. This closer look told me it was likely this years hatch. It was 90% into its adult plumage but was still scruffy and incomplete looking. I took it down to the house for show and tell, where I noticed that when it did fight back it was only kicking with one leg. It was a hurt bad.
It was suggested that we let it go into the ferns and let nature take its coarse. So I carried it to the edge of the lawn and put it done. It did not move, or run it just flopped weakly. I could not let it die that slowly so I did the better but harder thing.
Knowing that it was doomed, and not wanting to think about the slow suffering I conferred with one of the folks. I looked away and put my hand over its head making sure to close the beak so I could not snap at me and twisted. It was not a pretty feeling. I felt its last twitches which lasted the better part of a minuet. At least it would not suffer any more. Is a bit saddening, but at the same time they are one of natures prey species.
I have to say this, if it was the fully grown bird, or even if it was a little larger I would considered butchering it. It was a healthy young bird, some what like a chicken. Only its size prevented my considering its food value.
Before I relieved it I took some so so photos with my phone.
When I had taken these photos we had not yet decided to terminate the poor thing but I would say my thoughts were heading there.