I spent the winter of 2013 rolling through part of the last 1% of the American tall grass prairie....freezing....searching for the infamous Greater Prairie Chicken. And I mean freezing. Two pairs of wool socks + leather boots, in a van, numb toes, freezing.
We were looking for Prairie Chickens, specifically prairie chickens who were forming a "lek." Leks are breeding grounds, booming grounds, where the single chickens (all the single chickens) go to call out to the ladies and try to make them swoon. The male chickens pick a spot in the prairie and meet there every day. They stomp their feet, fluff their feathers, puff out their orange neck cheeks, and let out these, at first gergly and then very smooooth, vibrating boooooooms. Their songs can be heard for up to a mile, hoping to reach their lady loves' ears...and vaginas.
A similar ritual is true for the Kakapo. But, unlike the prairie chicken, the kakapo must walk...up mountains, far from their normal territory, to form their leks. The male birds dig bowls within the perimeter of their lek and boom within them. The bowl forms a sort of natural amplifier. Their lady loves hear this and walk 500 miles to find the males, just to get their baby on. Kakapos have to walk because they are flightless parrots. Back before humans inhabited New Zealand (the islands in which the kakapo live) the kakapo had no natural predators, and no need to fly. They are also the heaviest and only nocturnal parrots in the world. Their booming can be heard for almost three miles.
Unfortunately, both birds aren't doing so hot in whole scheme of life. The whole living thing. Mammals got 'em down. Human's took the land from the prairie chickens and brought predators to the kakapos.
So, just a reminder for me and for you...we have to be careful about how treat and travel around this blueberry we live on. Everything we do effects everything around us. What's good for us may not be good for another. We have to keep the balance. Make sure that boom boom booooooom is used for making babies, and not for decimating a species.