The lesser prairie chicken once inhabited an area extending from northern Kansas to the Texas Big Bend region in the south. Over many decades, that habitat has been reduced to a few pockets in the western parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle, and eastern New Mexico. In Texas, only Cochran and Yoakum counties have reported any sightings of the bird in recent years. The federal government is currently evaluating whether or not the lesser prairie chicken should be listed as a threatened or endangered species.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is asking private landowners and the general population to help in making this determination. Having a reliable estimate of the lesser prairie chicken population is important in making a determination of the bird’s future status. Texas Parks and Wildlife is also working with private landowners to assist them in voluntary conservation efforts to help preserve lesser prairie chicken habitat.
The following is excerpted from the Texas Parks and Wildlife publication Have You Seen This Bird?:
The Texas Panhandle area supports a large proportion of the remaining populations of Lesser Prairie-Chickens, so we all have an important opportunity to ensure conservation of the grasslands that support this icon of the Southern High Plains. It is important that we all work together to conserve and manage this unique grassland species. One of the challenges facing biologists and managers is the need to collect accurate census data in order to address the questions and concerns of whether Lesser Prairie-chickens should be listed as a threatened species across their range. With your help and reports of observations, we will be able to determine how many prairie-chickens we have in Texas.
If you see this bird please contact any of the following:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/habitats/)
Box 42125, TTU
Lubbock, TX 79409-2125
Phone: (806) 742-4968 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
US Fish & Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/arlingtontexas/west_tx.htm)
PO Box 713
Canadian, TX 79014
Phone: (806) 323-6636 Email: email@example.com
Natural Resources Conservation Service (http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/)
4609 W. Loop 289
Lubbock, TX 79414-1403
Phone: (806) 791-0581 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Farm Service Agency (http://www.fsa.usda.gov/TX/Find_your_local_office.htm)
Texas Cooperative Extension (http://texasextension.tamu.edu/)
PO Box 60275 WTAMU
Canyon, TX 79016
Phone: (806) 651-5760 Email: email@example.com
Please provide details of the date, location and number of individuals seen. If possible include GPS coordinates. Did you happen to get a photograph or digital image? Your information is valuable and will help ensure the continued survival of this unique grassland bird.
Section 12.0251 of the Parks and Wildlife Code provides that information collected on private land
relating to the specific location, species identification or quantity of any animal or plant life is
confidential and may not be disclosed.
You can view and download a pdf copy of Have You Seen This Bird? here. It contains more information about the lesser prairie chicken, it’s habitat, and photos to help with identification.