Lesser prairie-chicken looking direction at camera in open field.
Lesser Prairie-Chicken Logan County, Kansas © Harland J Schuster

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Lesser Prairie-Chicken Viewing

Kansas

Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch lesser prairie-chickens perform their mating ritual.

Each spring, male lesser prairie-chicken face off at sunrise to compete for the chance to mate with awaiting females. The battles are more dance-off than fist-fight, and the opportunity to witness it is increasingly rare.

Anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of all lesser prairie-chickens in the world are now found in western Kansas, between the Arkansas River and northern reaches of the Smoky Hill River. This small area is also home to the Nature Conservancy's Smoky Valley Ranch. Last spring there were approximately 192 prairie-chickens on the ranch.

Visitors can watch these threatened birds dance, spar, bellow and woo from a viewing blind set up near the leks (the places the birds congregate). Not for the faint of heart, groups must be in place an hour before sunrise and stay until the birds are done.

Lek viewings are booked through the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center in Oakely, Kansas. Custom scheduling can be accommodated for professional tour groups or groups with a minimum of four people. You may also join an open public date between March 15 and May 15, 2020. 

Fees: $80 per person

Contact: Prairie Tours & Guide Service, Jim Millensifer, 785-953-1139, jhmillensifer@gmail.com

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From the Flint Hills to Cheyenne Bottoms, healthy streams to Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, The Nature Conservancy works to protect Kansas for nature and people.