Greater prairie chickens are booming again this spring in Wah-Kon-Tah Prairie, Missouri. The species had been extirpated from the area until five years ago when the Missouri Department of Conservation translocated some greater prairie chickens from Kansas.
State biologists studying the birds have learned a lot about their habitat needs and have been surprised by the interplay between the donor population back in Kansas and the newly-established Missouri population.
The restoration offers hope to other states and regions trying to restore the greater prairie chicken, which is an endangered species in Missouri, when there is limited habitat available.
In Alberta, Canada, a two-year project to relocate some 40 sage grouse from Montana appears to be successful, says an article in the Calgary Herald. Human development, including oil drilling, had nearly wiped the species out in the province. Last year, poor weather hurt the reproduction of the introduced birds, but this year biologists believe the birds are nesting.
The key word mentioned in both reintroduction stories: “hopeful.”
Photo: Male greater prairie chicken courtship display, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation