Prairie Chickens- The Clowns of Minnesota’s Western Grasslands

This morning I remembered some video footage I took last month. It was from Earth Day, and also the 50th annual meeting of the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society in Rothsay. Since it would be a shame to go that far and not make the most of it (and because the timing was perfect), I finagled a spot in a viewing blind that morning.

Now, I’d done the same in 2018, on a sharptail lek in St. Louis County. Birds were scarce. I seem to remember one female, and possibly two different males that would come and go from the lek. It was neat, but not life-changing.

Fast-forward to 2023, on a prairie chicken lek in Clay County. It was a totally different story. The birds were everywhere. There was chaos. There was comedy. And it lasted about three hours. They put on an incredible show, and I snapped hundreds of photos.

If you’re interested in reading about it, I wrote up the meeting and MPCS for Outdoor News, and my experience in the blind for the Mankato Free Press. And here’s a link to MPCS.

By the way, MPCS memberships are only $15. They’ve been doing great things for prairie conservation for half a century now, and they deserve the support.

For a taste of the experience, see the video below. Keep in mind, seeing it in person is infinitely better. If you’d like to do that, you can reserve a spot in a blind through the MPCS website. They don’t require that you be a member, but if you go, please consider it. That way, we’ll both get invitations to the 100th annual meeting in 2073.

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