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Wisconsin's Prairie Chickens

Conservation and Courtship

Wisconsin's greater prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) began its return from near extinction in this state when, in 1954, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) entered into a partnership with Wisconsin conservation groups to establish a prairie chicken management program on the Buena Vista Grasslands in southwestern Portage County. Successful growth and continuation of this project has saved a species.

Today, the population of greater prairie chickens changes yearly, but a few thousand chickens can be found in the central part of the state each fall. These birds breed, nest, raise their young, and weather the seasons in a landscape still capable of supporting this native grouse species.

Learn about the "comeback story" of a bird with a past and, thanks to the continuing efforts of many people, a bird with a future. Their original prairie habitat may be gone, but these remarkable birds now thrive in the "surrogate" grasslands of central Wisconsin where the age-old sounds of territorial aggression, conflict, and competition are heard each spring.
©1993- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point