Report “Tame” Ruffed Grouse for This Study

“Tame” ruffed grouse at Moraine State Park, 13 Nov 2020 (photo by Dave Brooke)

13 March 2023

In November 2020 the ruffed grouse pictured above caused a sensation among birders by coming very close to us at Moraine State Park. He even chased my car!

The “tame” ruffed grouse looks at me, Moraine State Park, 13 Nov 2020 (photo by Kate St. John taken on my cellphone)

“Tame” ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) are not common in Pennsylvania but where they occur they are quite noticeable. They aren’t afraid of humans and they sometimes act aggressively. Why do they do this?

This spring the PA Game Commission, in cooperation with Penn State, is conducting a ruffed grouse genetics study to find out. They are asking the public’s help to locate “tame” grouse for the study.

The Game Commission is encouraging Pennsylvanians to report the location of any “tame” grouse they see this spring by sending an email to That email should include the person’s name and phone number, date of the sighting, location of the encounter and a description of the grouse’s behavior. Ideally, those sending in a report should also include GPS coordinates for the encounter site.

PGC Press Release: Public asked to report “tame” Grouse Sightings

According to the press release, “The study aims to determine whether the Commonwealth’s grouse population shows signs of splitting up into distinct subpopulations and if “tame” behavior is linked to genetics.”

If you know of a tame grouse in PA please report it.

Meanwhile here’s a video that shows the “tame” grouse behavior.

(photos by Dave Brooke and Kate St. John, video from PA Game Commission on YouTube)

2 thoughts on “Report “Tame” Ruffed Grouse for This Study

  1. I left you a photo of a VERY tame ruffed grouse, taken at Moraine on Badger Hill Rd in 2021, at Facebook Messenger; couldn’t see a way to upload images on this page.

    1. Joan, that is probably the exact same tame grouse that I encountered at Moraine on Badger Hill Rd in 2020. Nice to hear that he was still around in 2021.

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