UPDATE: MDC HAS CANCELLED THIS PROGRAM TO HELP PROTECT THE PUBLIC AMID ONGOING CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) CONCERNS.
Eagleville, Mo. – Male prairie-chickens strutting, dancing and jousting on hilltop leks is an ancient spring rite in communities with prairie heritage. The males strut and make booming sounds on the leks at dawn in a mating ritual to attract females. A free viewing event of prairie-chickens on leks is being offered this spring at Dunn Ranch Prairie in Harrison County by The Nature Conservancy and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
Reservations are required for the viewing. The viewing blind is provided and holds only eight people. Space is limited and blind reservations are already full for some days. The viewings will be on specified days beginning March 26 and ending April 19. Exact meeting times and locations will be provided when participants make reservations.
Greater prairie-chickens are endangered in Missouri. Their natural habitat is tallgrass prairie. Very little prairie habitat remains in the state due to changes in land use patterns, causing prairie-chicken numbers to decline dramatically.
The prairie-chicken viewing on Dunn Ranch Prairie occurs within MDC’s Grand River Grasslands focus area, where the goal is to restore sustainable grassland ecosystems for all species of plants, fish, birds, and animals. MDC and The Conservancy work with multiple partners in Missouri and Iowa including private landowners to boost populations of prairie-chickens and other grassland species.
For more information or to make a reservation for prairie-chicken viewing, call MDC’s Northwest Regional office at 816-271-3100. To learn more about Missouri’s endangered prairie-chicken population, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZGu.