Amorous grouse terrorizes Alberta hikers on popular trail

Alberta Parks has issued a grouse warning for a popular trail in Canmore because of one especially aggressive bird.

Alberta Parks issues warning, says bird is acting aggressively 'due to mating season'

This menacing male dusky grouse has been chasing people on the Montane trail above Canmore, Alta. (Miles Tindal)

There's a creature chasing people through the woods of southern Alberta. 

It has sharp talons, yellow eyebrows — and stands about 30 centimetres tall.

"I honestly didn't think anything of it," Andrea Barnes told the Calgary Eyeopener

"Until he started to march towards us. And I mean march. His head was down; his wings were back. He was heading straight for us."

The bird — a dusky grouse, also called a blue grouse — has been terrorizing people along the popular Montane Trail near the Town of Canmore.

Alberta Parks has issued a warning for the trail that says the male grouse is acting aggressively because it's mating season.

The dusky grouse, formerly called the blue grouse, is a forest bird native to the Rocky Mountains. (Shutterstock/Double Brow Imagery)

Barnes likened her encounter with the angry bird to a "showdown" in a Western movie.

To keep him at a distance and prevent him from pecking at her legs, she grabbed a stick.

"My girlfriends, on the other hand, their instinct was to start screaming and run up slope, away from me and the bird, and left me all alone."

Then, without making eye contact, Barnes said she started gently talking to the grouse and walking backwards "to get out of his territory."

"Then I turned, and I ran for my life."

Barnes, who also happens to be an education specialist with Alberta Parks​, said the town is "abuzz with bird talk" and has even heard stories about the menacing grouse going after cyclists on the trail.

Alberta Parks has issued a warning for Canmore's Montane trail, saying a male dusky grouse, similar to the one pictured here, has been acting aggressive 'due to mating season.' (Shutterstock/Tom Reichner)

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener