Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
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Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR - Monthly Staff Notes - October 2005
Southwest Region, October 31, 2005
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Success of this year's Attwater's prairie chicken (APC) release has received mixed results so far.  Of the 70 captive-bred birds released on the refuge from late July through late September, 57% are still alive.  Interestingly, birds (39) released earlier (late July to about mid-August) have a 68% survival while APCs (31) released later (mid-August to late September) have a 42% survival.  Extremely dry habitat conditions that started in August are suspected to be one of the main reasons for the lower survival with the later group.  Despite a 3-4 inch rain at mid-month, dry conditions were still extreme by the end of October.  Similar mortality of released birds was seen during September/October of 1999 when dry conditions plagued that release.    

Twenty-two of 24 APCs released at the Texas City Prairie Preserve (TCPP) near Texas City, Texas, including 17 birds that endured the Hurrican Rita evacuation and released the first week in October, are still alive.  Habitat conditions at TCPP are not as dry as on the APC NWR.

Representatives from all 6 APC breeding facilities met at the refuge in late October to select breeding pairs for the upcoming 2006 breeding season.  Despite the program software crashing twice, 70 breeding pairs were created. 

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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