Historically, prairie chickens were abundant in Midwestern tallgrass prairies, but they are picky about their habitat and don’t adjust well to agriculture, roads, or powerlines. By the 1930s they were nearly extinct. Refuge staff and partners have been restoring prairie habitat and the prairie chickens have returned!
The greater prairie chicken is a large land bird that puts on quite a show at dawn in early spring. Male prairie chickens – in an attempt to woo the females – will gather together in a group called a “lek”, dance across the grass, and make “booming” noises with their bright orange air sacs. If you enjoy early mornings, you can reserve a prairie chicken viewing blind through the Crookston Chamber of Commerce and see the show for yourself.