Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR - Monthly Staff Notes - July 2008
Southwest Region, July 31, 2008
Print Friendly Version

The month of July was met with mixed news concerning Attwater's prairie chicken (APC) recovery efforts. Despite intensive management of the broods by refuge staff and intern volunteers, only 4 APC chicks were confirmed to have survived to six-weeks of age on the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (APC NWR) this year.   Unfortunately, two of these four chicks died (predation) by the end of the month. Extremely dry weather most likely affected this year's chick survival.  From late April through June, the refuge received only .80 inches of rain.  The production of forbs and insects was noticably less this year during this critical time for the APC chicks.  No chicks were produced at the Texas City Prairie Preserve (TCPP)(owned by the Nature Conservancy) nor on private lands in Goliad County where two other APC populations exist. 

At a meeting of all APC breeding facilities in early July, 373 Attwater's were slated for release this summer. Although the number of birds actually released will probably be somewhat less, this group will still represent the largest release of birds since the APC release program started in 1996! Although a record 418 chicks were produced in captivity this year, some birds are held back to "replenish" the captive flock.  

Efforts to release birds earlier this year also helped relieve "crowding" at a couple breeding facilities, thus helping to reduce the threat of potential disease issues and allowing the birds more time to get acclimated in the wild prior to the fall arrival of hawks. At the end of July, over 130 birds had already been transported to acclimation pens at the three release sites and/or released into the wild.  Plans are to continue to release birds at the APC NWR, TCPP, and, private lands in Goliad County.  During the third week in July, the refuge received 1.4 inches of much-needed rain from Hurricane Dolly, bringing relief to the dry landscape.   




Contact Info: Terry Rossignol, (979)234-3021, ext. 13, terry_rossignol@fws.gov
Find a Field Notes Entry

Search by keyword

Search by State

Search by Region

US Fish and Wildlife Service footer