GLENBURN, ME (WABI/CNN) - A man and a wild ruffed grouse have formed a close bond.
Living in a wooded area, crossing paths with a wild animal would be pretty typical. It's one of the things Maynard Lane loves most about his home. Even he couldn't predict what happened last fall.
"About a year ago, why, I was coming out of my trail,” he said. "And a bird flew in front of me like she was going to hit me, and she wanted my attention."
She got more than just attention. The wild bird gained a new friend.
“She would recognize the sound of my machine and the slow going, and she would come out to meet me every day," Lane said.
Wildlife experts say and this isn't typical behavior for a ruffed grouse.
"It's pretty miraculous, really, to have a wild animal take to a human being like this has,” Haily Keezer, the man’s granddaughter, said. “I think Gramps had a gift and patience that's God-given that he can make friends with someone so naturally."
It was clear Sunshine, named by his grandson, was now part of their family.
"I think Sunshine has been a great blessing for Gramps,” Keezer said. “He enjoys getting out every day, and it just gets him out of the house and gives him something to look forward to every afternoon."
These two even go for walks together. Lane said this came to be after an invitation from Sunshine.
"I said, ‘I think I know what you want. You want to go for a walk,’ so we went for a walk way down in the woods and back and to where we started," Lane said. "She loved it, going for walks. And she stays right with me and she talks to me, stops and talks to me."
His love for Sunshine grows every day, even if it does get him in trouble sometimes.
"My wife complains and says, ‘You're crazy over that bird! You've got more pictures of the bird than me,’" Lane said.
"I hope that this continues. It's a good little bond that they have and we all enjoy her," Keezer said.
All joking aside, it's clear this natural connection will last for a long time.
"Seeing little chicks, just like her, I think it's a very unusual situation,” Lane said. “She must have looked at me and saw something that wasn't too bad."
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