I am very pleased with the display of two of my photos in the Fall 2023 edition of the Grouse Partnership News, the annual magazine of the North American Grouse Partnership. Both images ran full-page size. This picture ran on the inside and another on the back cover.
This image of two male greater prairie-chickens fighting was photographed on a lek in Mitchell County, Kansas.
The greater prairie-chicken or pinnated grouse (Tympanuchus cupido) is known for its mating ritual by males called booming. In the spring, males gather on leks, also known as booming grounds, in which they defend small areas on the lek to perform their mating displays for visiting females. This display includes extending their orange eye combs, lowering the head, raising two tufts of feathers on the neck, and pointing the tail slightly forward while stamping their feet rapidly. They also expand their bright orange air sac to produce a booming-like sound that can be heard up to a mile away. In addition, males will vigorously defend their territory on the lek by chasing, leaping in the air, and dramatic fighting.
Greater prairie-chickens are threatened by climate changes (drought or too much rain) and habitat loss. In particular, habitat loss caused by wind energy development. Prairie-chickens need large expanses of open grassland without tall objects (like wind turbines or power lines and power poles) that provide a raptor to perch on.
The mission of The North American Grouse Partnership is to promote the conservation of grouse and the habitats necessary for their survival and reproduction. It is the only conservation organization that advocates for all 12 North American grouse species and their habitats. Their goal is to ensure that grouse conservation is guided by science, public policies are beneficial to grouse and that on-the-ground management of lands lead to positive outcomes for grouse.