No matter what the critter – a mother’s instinct is to protect her young. It certainly was for the enraged Ruffed Grouse Hen who built her nest behind the par 3 green at a wooded resort golf course.
As we casually parked our golf carts on the cart path behind the green, a grey/brown flurry of feathers came charging out of the woods thrashing its wings and scarred the living xxxx out of us. “What is that thing? The crazy chicken from hell?” As we made a hasty retreat from the target of her rage, the carts, the neurotic hen was flogging the cart tires with her nearly featherless wings. We watched in admiring amazement as the exhausted mother grouse continued the relentless attack on the intruding golf carts. As the grouse preoccupied flogging the cart tires, a member of our group snuck a peek into the leaf litter nest and counted 12 buff colored eggs resting unharmed at the base of the huge oak tree. With caution as a priority, we moved the demonized golf carts about 20 feet further away from the hen’s protected area. She retreated to the cover of the woods to resume the incubation process necessary to insure a successful hatch.
We putted out and moved with some caution in a wide circle away from the danger zone and back to the carts. We laughed and joked our way around the course as we relived how each of us had freaked-out from the attack from the “Crazy Chicken From Hell.” The next day as we stood on the tee of this beautiful par three, we discussed more than club choice. We made the decision not to park the carts within range of the watchful mother hen to give her a break from the every ten minute assault of the demon golf carts. One of our foursome did venture close enough to raise her eerie and provoke a warning from her nest at the base of the oak tree.
To this day we discuss the motherly determination to guarantee procreation and the inexhaustible energy that mother grouse displayed to maintain the relentless assault on the demon golf carts for the full 26 day incubation period.