Monday, January 7, 2013


Acronyms, don't you just love them?!?  Attwater Prairie Chicken at Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge.  Now that is a mouth full isn't it?

The refuge was established in 1972 and is 10,528 acres of one of the largest remnants of coastal prairie habitats remaining in Southeast Texas.  It is home to one of the  LAST populations of the critically ENDANGERED Attwater Prairie Chickens.

This is a picture of a picture...I hope to get my own pretty soon.  

The refuge mission is to protect, restore, preserve, enhance, and manage gulf coastal prairie grasslands in support of the Endangered Species Act and the Attwater's Prairie Chicken Recovery Plan while maintaining and perpetuating biodiversity.  Today, less than one percent of coastal prairies remain.

Typically, about half the adults die each year from predation or other natural causes.  Their courtship rituals take place on a lek, or booming ground and used year after year.  For males, a lek is their stage.  They perform each morning February through mid-May, and guess what...we will be here!!! 

The hen nests on the ground and lays a dozen eggs that hatch 26 days later.  Only 30% of all nests escape predation.  Less than half the chicks make it to adulthood.  They dine on insects, leaves, flowers, and seeds of prairie plants.

So few birds are left that a captive breeding program offers the best hope for saving this species.

We provide tours of the refuge on the first Saturday of the month and the second weekend in April, the festival will be held.  You will be given the chance of seeing them on their lek strutting around with their courtship display.  Consider this your invitation to come join us!!!

I have been reading their CCP book that is the refuges plan for the next 15 years. 

The refuge is one of 13 located in the Central Flyway.

Until next time...


  1. The CCP is right up there with the Annual Narratives (do they still do these?) in my "must read" at every place we volunteer. Lots of info in those, isn't there?

  2. I had the pleasure of watching Attwater Prairie Chicken males displaying on a lek at the Nature Conservancy's Texas City preserve about ten years ago. When I female appeared those males really went into overdrive!

    They had us in a blind a couple of hundred yards back from the lek so it was tough to get any good pictures. Maybe you'll get closer...


  3. I went out today doing radio telemetry. On the way back, we had two on the side of the road!!!