The "Drummer of Love"
"It begins in the dark, pre-dawn silence of an early Wisconsin spring. A small gathering of Greater Prairie Chicken males begin their dance. Their booming resonates so loudly you might think these colorful birds are abundant. Yet, what you see are among the precious few that have survived. This is a "come back story" of a bird with a past and, thanks to the continuing efforts of many people, a bird with a future. Their original prairie habitat may be gone, but these remarkable birds now thrive in the "surrogate" grasslands of Central Wisconsin where the age-old sounds of territorial aggression, conflict and competition are heard each spring." ~Carl Flaig~
Greater Prairie Chickens are territorial birds and will defend their booming grounds. These booming grounds are the area in which males perform their rituals in hopes of attracting females. Their displays consist of inflating air sacs located on the side of their neck and snapping their tails. These booming grounds usually have very short or no vegetation. The male prairie chickens stay on this ground displaying for almost two months. The one or two most dominant males will do about 90% of the mating.
The scientific name is “Tympanchus cupido pinnatus” which translates to the “Drummer of Love”. The air sacs on the male are called typani. – typm-pa-ni – a set of kettledrums
Keywords: Booming Ground, Grassland, Greater Prairie Chicken, Lek, Mating Ritual, Prairie Chicken, Wisconsin
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