Walter the friendly grouse becomes man’s backyard companion

New London, New Hampshire: The bird started hanging out in the New London, New Hampshire, backyard last month with Westward while his family was away on a trip, his wife, Mary Beth Westward, posted in Facebook. Since then, the bird, named Walter, has made himself a fixture in the yard.

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“I just thought it was a fluke before we left,” Mary Beth Westward said Friday. “While we were gone, this bird formed this crazy attachment. He was here every single day, all day long, following him.”

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Walter has perched on her husband’s shoulder and arm, and has visited his backyard work station.

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Mary Beth Westward said she’s gotten a lot of positive comments from her post, and heard some similar stories about social grouses.

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She said she and the couple’s daughters don’t have the same bond with Walter. He appears to chase them away.

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“He runs like a feathered velociraptor while he chases us down the driveway in our cars. And he goes back up and sits on the porch and pretends to be our watch-bird,” Westward wrote in her post.

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The ruffed grouse is the state bird in Pennsylvania. The “tame” grouse phenomenon happens in the spring, during the peak breeding season, according to a video last year from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. One theory is that the grouse is acting hyper-territorial.

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