This unique prairie remnant gets its name from a nickname given to the greater prairie chicken by early European settlers. These settlers heard the sound of the male prairie chickens on spring mornings and likened the low, resonant “booming” sound of the male chickens to the sound of drumming on a large kettle.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
Kettledrummer Prairie was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 1973, in part because it was home to some of the southernmost greater prairie chickens in the state. Since that time, greater prairie chickens have been reintroduced to the Minnesota River Valley near Lac Qui Parle. Biologists recognize the importance of linking this newly-reintroduced population with the existing grouse found in the Agassiz Beach Ridges further to the north. Kettledrummer Prairie is one of the more southern prairie remnants along the edge of ancient Lake Agassiz that consistently harbors nesting greater prairie chickens. It is an important link between these populations.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Conservancy fire crews periodically burn portions of this preserve. Trained fire leaders pick ideal weather conditions and the appropriate time of year to conduct the burns. The controlled fires help to set back the invasion of woody species. On the prairie, trees harbor predators that prey on grassland birds and their nests. Conservancy stewards keep the prairie free of large areas of trees in order to increase the use of the site by important grassland birds, such as the greater prairie chicken for which this site was named.