Volume 6, Plate 4

Ruffled Grouse or Pheasant

Ruffled Grouse

They generally move along with great stateliness, their broad fanlike tail spread out in the manner exhibited in the drawing. The drumming, as it is usually called, of the pheasant, is another singularity of this species. This is performed by the male alone. In walking through solitary woods frequented by these birds, a stranger is surprised by suddenly hearing a kind of thumping very similar to that produced by striking two full-blown ox-bladders together, but much louder; the strokes at first are slow and distinct; but gradually increase in rapidity, till they run into each other, resembling the rumbling sound of very distant thunder, dying away gradually on the ear. After a few minutes' pause, this is again repeated, and, in a calm day, may be heard nearly half a mile off. It is produced in the following manner:--The bird, standing on an old prostrate log, generally in a retired and sheltered situation, lowers his wings, erects his expanded tail, contracts his throat, elevates the two tufts of feathers on the neck, and inflates his whole body, something in the manner of the turkey cock, strutting and wheeling about with great stateliness. After a few maneuvers of this kind, he begins to strike with his stiffened wings in short and quick strokes, which becomes more and more rapid until they run into each other, as has been already described.