Thunder Bay·Video

Making a feathered friend: small bird won't stop following northern Ontario man around

A wild ruffed grouse has taken an unusual shine to a man from a small township in northern Ontario.

Brian Swanson says a ruffed grouse started hanging around him at his cottage property in March

Brian Swanson of Red Rock Ont., has a ruffed grouse at his camp that has decided to be his buddy. Wild grouse are normally a skittish bird. (photo credit: R. Swanson )

A wild ruffed grouse has taken an unusual shine to a man from a small township in northern Ontario.

Brian Swanson, who lives in Red Rock, just east of Thunder Bay, says the bird started following him around at his cottage property at the beginning of March.

Although Swanson said he often has a lot of birds around the property, this particular one has been acting very differently.

"We'd go out on the weekends and once we would show up, he would show up ... in the yard again," Swanson said.   

The ruffed grouse is not a bird known to be especially friendly with people. In fact, they tend to turn and run or fly away at the first sight of humans.

Swanson said the bird will follow him quite closely but it does have boundaries.

"People say 'did you feed him,' and I didn't give him anything," he continued. "This weekend I tried to give him some bread but he wouldn't eat it."

"I went for a walk to the neighbours yesterday and he walked half way and then met me on the way back.  It's almost like there is a border there he just stays in."

The ruffed grouse mates during the spring and the males thump on their chests with their wings to attract a mate. Swanson said his feathered friend — that he's named Din-Din — has revealed itself as a male.

"I can hear him thumping in the bush in the morning, so I guess he is looking for me."

Swanson added that, despite his wingman status, he has not been able to pet the bird, despite its close proximity. He added that he hopes the bird will stick around for the summer, as he has become something of a minor celebrity.

"The neighbours fell in love with him. They all come over and visit. "

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