California Sage Grouse

This is one of my new favorite weird birds. And it’s a California native! (Yes, CA is the home of the freaks – and proud of it!)

I was inspired to draw this bird from a visit to the Natural Sciences Gallery at my very own Oakland Museum of California. They were trying out new video displays to accompany some static dioramas. The video of the sage grouse’s mating ritual in action is not to be missed. They have two featherless air sacs which they inflate like giant moobs (man boobs). The inflating process makes little popping noises, and while they’re working up to inflating, the dudes make little whooping noises (technically frequency modulated intonations.) The whole thing looks just so bizarre, but apparently, the lady grouses love it.

I chose a male grouse in full inflated moob mode. But they look pretty silly at every point in the dance.

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