The bulbous beaked bird appeared to enjoy being drawn at first. It noticed me watching and turned its head sideways quixotically, its wispy orange plumage bobbing in the breeze. It made some clicking sounds as if to inquire what I was doing. It turned back to the creek it had previously been watching so closely for small crabs and crawfish.
The recently unknown species is a relative of the Long extinct Dodo bird and is formed in that stout and cartoon likeness. it tends to appear docile in nature and is genetically closer to a Central Park pigeon than an angry ostrich. I wasn’t too worried when it turned its attention back toward me and strutted up the rocks.
It had caught a bright orange crab in its beak but waited to crush it completely until I was close enough to see, to show off. It cracked the shell and tossed back its head to eat the shellfish whole. It was a violent and quick motion that sent shrapnel pieces of carapace scattering down onto the limestone.
Afterwards it seemed to be posing, sometimes looking at me to see if my hand was still going, and it was constantly in motion. Never before had a specimen been so cooperative for one of my infield drawings, never before was I able to achieve such detail in the wilderness. I got all of its scales and spotted feathers, its tiny wings completely incapable of flight. my drawing I must admit was close to perfect.
When I felt like I was finished, I stood up and viewed the portrait from a few feet back, the orangey feathered Dodo walked closer to the easel. It rattled its feathers, and stretched out its wings, dipped its head down to preen a feather on its lower abdomen that had been protruding out. It positioned itself next to my stool and gazed at the canvas.
It was so odd to observe a bird so intelligent and self aware. It spent several moments staring at the portrait. Suddenly it grew agitated. It shook its plumage and let out an odd sort of honk several octaves deeper than a goose’s honk, spread out its stubby wings and lunged forward knocking the easel backward with its massive beak. I took several steps back and grabbed a branch, but its focus didn’t shift to me.
It attacked the canvas with murderous intent. Shredding the paper with its hefty talons and tearing at the wood with its beak. Watching the annihilation of what might have been my best piece of work was painful only for a second, astounded by the destructive engine of the flightless bird.
When it completed its onslaught and stood atop the ruble to stare me down I couldn’t find the willpower to run away. It squawked at me and stomped but I held my ground, I had to know hat would happen. It ruffled its feathers and honked at me, I didn’t move. It began to charge. I tightened my grip on the awkwardly weighted club and braced for impact.
Wood collided with feathered head and lumpy beak with a ballpark crack.
When I dissected the specimens brain I discovered a highly active hypothalamus gland, which effects many functions in the brain, in this case aggression seems to be the main affliction. Despite its extremely territorial behavior it appears capable of some form of primitive reasoning and social skills which is why I was not attacked outright. In further study I plan on learning to communicate with the birds and learn more about their social skills and cognitive abilities. This test has proven that the Didius Retunsus Iracundia (as I have aptly named it) is both aggressive and highly intelligent and does not like being drawn with cartoon features. I may have drawn the wings too small, the beak too large, the belly too fat, and exaggerated that one protruding feather on its side to an enormous degree but I am a scientist not an artist.