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I set out this morning with my girlfriend to count Greater 
Prairie-Chickens (she'd never seen one, and hears me talk about them 
all the time) and do some other birding.  The forecast of 40% chance of 
light snow turned out to be a little conservative.

At the lek in western Adair county, I was troubled to only find one 
chicken at first.  We were later able to spot two more, both males.  
The birds were displaying, but I did not hear any booming.  Does anyone 
have experience with the effect of light precipitation on lek behavior? 
If so, please email me. I poked around and couldn't find any 
information on the topic, except for Sharp-tailed Grouse. Last week 
there were five birds making a real ruckus, and this week there were 
three silent males (not one noise in 30 minutes, but they were doing 
the visual display most of the time).  I would like to know whether or 
not this could possibly be attributed to weather conditions, as 
numbers/activity should be increasing, I'd think.  The snowfall was 
pretty light with about 1/2 inch accumulation at the time.  Winds were 
only about 5-10 mph. Time of day was identical, right at sunrise to 30 
min. afterwards. Maybe a raptor buzzed the lek right before I got 
there, but it seemed odd, almost eerie.

Then on to Union Ridge CA... with more snow falling.  A quick pass 
through produced close looks at a Barred Owl and a great look at a male 
Northern Harrier.  Several Fox Sparrows were the only other 
highlight... the marsh was pretty dead, not much on it.  With 
increasing snowfall and poor visibilty, we decided to call it a morning.

Phil Wire
Kirksville, Adair Co.
[log in to unmask]


...It figures that the weekend I take my girlfriend to see the prairie 
chickens, it's a pretty weak show... 

-----------------------
Phil Wire
Truman State University

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