The lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) belongs to the grouse family of birds so iconic to prairie culture. This brown-barred, stocky species nests in shrubbery and grasses of the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado. David Hunter, owner of Hunter’s Livestock Supply in Woodward, recollected that the prairie-chickens were often spotted on his family’s 120-year-old farm in eastern Woodward when he was young. “There were just thousands of them everywhere,” the 57-year-old told me. In northwestern Oklahoma alone, the bird’s habitat once covered 12 counties. Today their range has shrunk to isolated pockets in seven counties, all near or in the panhandle. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the prairie-chicken has lost as much as 84 percent of its historic prairie and grassland. The Service first named the lesser prairie-chicken as a candidate for the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 1998 and declared the bird “threatened” in 2014.
Source: The Revelator, Nov 6, 2017