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Prairie Chickens returning to Missouri Prairies

By Laura Ziegler

Bethany, Missouri – On the prairies of eastern Kansas, Northwest Missouri, Iowa, and parts of Illinois, the Greater Prairie Chickens have been declining due to generations of farming. Woody vegetation and exotic grasses have replaced the tall and short grasses that were once home to native species of plant and animal life, including the Greater Prairie Chicken. This species of grouse uses the grasses for mating, nesting and rearing it's young.
Today, the Nature Conservancyand The Missouri Department of Conservation are working to restore several thousand acreas to its native state. The success of this effort can be measured by the number of Greater Prairie Chickens returning each spring for the annual mating ritual. Birdwatchers come from around the world to observe the unique event, and hear the remarkable sound the birds make. They call the sound "booming."

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