One young lady made a surprise friend when a Dusky Grouse (better known as a Blue Grouse) showed up at the Hawthorne Army Depot housing complex where she lives.
Shawna Clark made fast friends with the grouse, she named “Rebecca”.
Local photographer Vic Trujillo explained to the Independent-News that he had never witnessed a bird take so fondly to a person.
The National Audubon Society describes the Dusky Grouse to be “slow-moving, inconspicuous and often surprisingly tame.” With that description, it must be said that anywhere that Clark went, so did “Rebecca”. She would keep in constant eye contact with the young lady.
When Clark had to go in for the night, “Rebecca” wanted to go too, but instead, waited patiently on the steps of the house until morning.
The map found on the Audubon site, does not show Mineral County to be in the path for birds like “Rebecca” but they can be found over towards Ely and those areas.
These birds like to forage on the ground in the summer and in the trees during the winter, especially in areas that receive heavy snow cover. Their diets include conifer needles, leaves, insects and even berries.
Like their cousin, the Sage Grouse, the male will give off a deep song with bursts of short flights and a fluttering of wings. They too strut on the ground with their tails raised and fanned and their neck feathers spread to show a patch of bright skin.
Clark told the Independent-News about this once in a lifetime experience, “She was my free range pet. She was like a puppy; I would walk and say follow and she would run after me. If I sat down, she would jump in my lap and let me pet her.”
Knowing that “Rebecca” was a wild animal didn’t make it any easier when she no longer came when Clark called.
“Sad thing about a free range pet is Mother Nature can take it back,” she explained.