inflates its throat sacks to prepare for booming.
Greater prairie chicken inflates its throat sacks to prepare for booming. © Dominique Braud

Places We Protect

Minnesota

Foxhome Prairie

Visitors come to the Foxhome Prairie Preserve to catch a glimpse of the greater prairie chicken.

Many visitors come to the Foxhome Prairie Preserve to catch a glimpse of the greater prairie chicken, when the birds' courtship ritual begins during the early spring. Another primary attraction is the small white lady's slipper, which usually grows less than a foot tall and is rarely found on Minnesota's wet prairies.

Location
Western Minnesota, Wilkin County

Size
240 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site  

Foxhome Prairie is just one of several Conservancy preserves in  western and northwestern Minnesota devoted to ensuring the remaining prairie chicken population. The preserve is a small but vital link in the delicate chain of remnant northern tallgrass prairie parcels in this region of Minnesota, surrounded by agricultural land. As such, Foxhome Prairie provides an important corridor for wildlife and represents a good example of presettlement vegetation.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Nature Conservancy purchased the land from Clifford Hagstrom in 1973, primarily to protect habitat for the greater prairie chicken. Because of its relatively undisturbed quality, Foxhome Prairie represents one of the few remaining parcels of northern tallgrass prairie. It also provides an educational outdoor laboratory for students and researchers from the surrounding communities.

What to See: Plants
Significant grasses include big bluestem, Indian grass, prairie dropseed and prairie cordgrass. Uncommon prairie flora like the northern gentian, Nuttall's sunflower and small white lady's slipper also thrive at Foxhome Prairie.

What to See: Animals
Although the greater prairie chicken gets the most attention, there are dozens of other bird species that inhabit the preserve. They include the marbled godwit (a species of special concern), bobolink, western meadowlark, savannah sparrow, gray catbird, and downy woodpecker. Several mammals live on the Foxhome Prairie, including the prairie deer mouse, meadow vole, masked shrew, meadow jumping mouse, striped skunk, red fox, and whitetail jackrabbit.

The diverse butterfly population adds a special touch of beauty to the preserve. Species here include the monarch, red admiral, wood nymph, orange Sulphur and black swallowtail. The preserve originally supported the poweshiek skipper, a now federally endangered species, but it has not been documented here in recent years. Among the reptiles and amphibians at Foxhome Prairie are the great plains toad, wood frog, northern leopard frog, and the plains garter snake.

For more information on visiting this and other Minnesota preserves, check out our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.