Maine man makes friends with wild partridge

GLENBURN, ME (WABI/CNN) — A Maine resident has found an unusual friend, a wild partridge that he’s formed a close bond.

Living in a wooded area like this, 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 and a bird flew in front of me like she was going to hit me and she wanted my attention,” Lane remembers.

She got more than just attention. The wild bird gained a new friend.

“Oh here she is, you are already here. She would recognize the sound of my machine and the slow going, and she would come out to meet me everyday,” Lane said.

Wildlife experts say she’s a ruffed grouse and this isn’t typical of their behavior.

“It’s pretty miraculous, really, to have a wild animal take to a human being, like this has. I think Gramps had a gift and patience that’s god-given that he can make friends with someone so naturally,” Lane’s granddaughter-in-law Hailey Keezer said.

It was clear Sunshine, named by his grandson, was now part of their family.

“I think Sunshine has been a great blessing for Gramps. He enjoys getting out everyday and it just gets him out of the house and gives him something to look forward to every afternoon,” Keezer said.

“She comes up close to me,” said 5-year-old Caleb Keezer, Lane’s great grandson.

These two even go for walks together. Lane says 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.

All joking aside, it’s clear this natural connection will last for a long time.

“I hope that this continues. It’s a good little bond that they have and we all enjoy her,” Keezer said.

Maybe even more of her….

“Seeing little chicks, just like her. I think it’s s a very unusual situation. She must have looked at me and saw something that wasn’t too bad,” Lane said.

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