These pictures were taken on two separate occasions.
One evening about two weeks ago I heard and saw the Ruffed Grouse family near a stack of logs.
(please click on the images for better viewing)
They were instantly alert. Most scattered into the dense underbrush, all except for one bird, who, with slow, cautious steps and raised ruff proceeded along the top of the log pile before making a beeline to the relative safety of the woods.
Last Thursday, my husband and I saw them again when we went for an afternoon walk in the forest. We noticed a cloud of dust blowing across the trail in front of us.
As we got closer, we realized what was causing the dust storm. We had inadvertently surprised the grouse in the midst of a dust bath (the dust being some old fireplace ashes that we had deposited here last spring).
There must have been at least four or five grouse, but we only saw one in the dust bath. They immediately burst into the air and hid in the vegetation.
Covered in ash dust