I was over in Cooper Landing earlier today and something caught my eye as I pulled out of the post office.
Once I determined it was a bird and not a big rock, I watched as a vehicle approached.
Didn't bother the spruce grouse at all.
Soon there were two, and another in the brush.
Walkin' the line...
They let me get quite close--maybe fifteen feet away.
Then, all three were pecking grit off the shoulder. These birds require a tremendous amount of grit to make their digestive transition from fall berries and leaves to the winter diet of fibrous needles.
They are more commonly called "spruce hens."
Note the feathered legs. You'd want feathered legs, too, if you waded around in snow most of the year.
I sure hope I identified this bird correctly, because there are several kinds of grouse around here, as well as ptarmigan, that look similar. There's a rufous band at the end of the tail that's an identifying mark for spruce grouse.