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Sage-Grouse Fembot

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From the Birding Community E-bulletin, August 2014:



Here's another curious Greater Sage-Grouse development.

Most studies at a sage-grouse lek, or mating ground, concentrate on the behavior of strutting males in their elaborate courtship displays. But how about a female's-eye view? That's what intrigued Gail Patricelli, associate professor at the University of California, Davis.

To understand the evolution of courtship behavior of the species, and better interpret the male response to female signals, Patricelli had a "henbot" designed, a robotic hen the rolled on a track around a lek. This model later gave way to a remote-controlled "fembot," mounted on a much more mobile, Mars-rover-like base and with the ability to move its head, for example, in a pecking fashion.

For more on the role of this research, see this article which appeared last month in The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colorado) on "Sex, leks, and videotape":

     or view this blog post from The Nature Conservancy:

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