The cooler/wetter weather has had a negative impact not only on Greater Prairie Chicken but also on Bobwhite Quail, Wild Turkey, and all other birds that are ground nesters, there is also some discussion that the low grasshopper numbers are also an effect to damp cool ground conditions. One good long summer drought would be a big help.
You are also correct about the spikes on utility pools and everyone seem high on the PBG program, Patch/Burn/Graze seems to be having the desired effect especially for grassland birds, and the ranchers seem to like it too, their cattle put on more weight during the hot summer months in warm season grass pasture. As for the Greater Prairie Chicken it is too early to tell, there are just not enough birds.
I am convinced of one thing, the Greater Prairie Chicken is in serious trouble, and unless we all do everything we can we will lose this bird in Missouri sometime in the near future. 
Mike Doyen
Rolla, MO

Bird by bird I've come to know the earth.
Pablo Neruda.

--- On Thu, 10/15/09, Linda Williams <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

From: Linda Williams <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Greater Prairie Chicken in Mo
To: [log in to unmask]
Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009, 10:31 AM

A few things I'm not sure have been mentioned (hopefully I have remembered the details correctly):
1)  Weather plays a big role in nesting success for Greater Prairie-Chickens and the colder, wetter springs we have had for the last two years have not been good for chick survival rates.
2)  Spikes have been installed on power lines at Taberville to deter raptors.  This is from the MO Conservationist:
"The Conservation Department, Audubon Missouri, and KA MO Power recently collaborated to install raptor spikes on power poles that crisscross an area of Taberville CA adjacent to a lek. Many species of hawks, especially red-tailed hawks (the most abundant large hawk in Missouri), are most effective when they can hunt from an inconspicuous perch and ambush their prey—and power poles are ideal. A soaring hawk is much easier to spot than one sitting motionless. The spikes will not harm the hawks, and they could help tip the odds in the prairie chickens’ favor."
3)  Prairie chickens require variety in habitat - sparse growth for booming grounds, medium density growth for nesting cover, disturbed areas such as grazed or burned areas for brood-rearing, and taller grasses and sedges in the winter for burrowing.  Patch-burning and grazing methods are being used in MO to try to accomodate those needs.  From what I've heard, this is one of the problems in the Flint Hills - burning of large areas at the same time each year doesn't provide any cover for rearing chickens.
Max Alleger is the leader of MDC's Prairie Chicken Recovery team and gives a very informative program on their efforts if any organizations would like to invite him to speak.  He spoke to our Master Naturalist chapter earlier this year.  They really seem to have a handle on the whole situation and paint a realistic picture of what has happened, what needs to be done, and the limitations of the project.
Linda Williams
Liberty, Clay County, MO
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