We had a meeting of the minds a short time ago and, regrettably, concluded that we will NOT be able to carry forward with the High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival this year.
Due to the drought-induced dip in prairie chicken numbers, we have not been able to locate enough well-populated, accessible leks to conduct the festival satisfactorily.
In the 11 years that we have held the festival, overall landscape conditions, and thus prairie chicken habitat, have not changed appreciably. But we are entering the third successive year of severe drought.
Without the timely rains necessary to produce the forbs and bugs that the prairie chickens need to successfully raise a brood of chicks, the population has suffered.
We firmly believe that a return to favorable rainfall patterns will revive the population, but so far that hasn’t happened.
The birds are not all gone; a population remains active. But we cannot string together enough accessible, reliable leks to make it feasible to run the festival this year.
Do us a favor…..Dance For Rain!
Tish McDaniel & Willard Heck
Coordinators, High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival