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K-State Today

February 11, 2013

Prairie chicken viewing opportunities at Konza Prairie Biological Station

Submitted by Jill Haukos

Greater Prairie-Chicken photo by Dave Rintoul

Each spring male greater prairie chickens, Tympanicus cupido, do an elaborate courtship dance in hopes of impressing female prairie chickens. This dance, called booming, includes unique gobbling sounds, foot stomping, head bobbing and wing spreading. It is mesmerizing and fascinating, and it happens at dawn.

The Konza Environmental Education Program invites you to come watch these fascinating creatures boom on their leks, which are specific areas on the prairie that are obvious to prairie chickens but more obscure to us. However, we have found a well-used and defined lek on Konza Prairie and we have a shed-like blind that allows up to eight people to sit and watch booming.

If you would like to witness this ancient ritual of the prairie birds, call the Konza Environmental Education Program at 785-587-0381 to reserve your seat in the blind. We are taking reservations for Thursday, Friday or Saturday mornings from March 21 to April 21 and charge $25 per person. Proceeds go to the Konza Environmental Education Program.