Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
Lesser prairie chickens have a flair for the dramatic. During mating season on the grasslands of eastern New Mexico, the male bird puffs out its chest, inflates colorful air sacs and fans out its feathers as it struts across the plains. That drama is echoed in the debate over how to save the bird from extinction.
In 2013, five states with lesser prairie chicken habitat – New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado – created a rangewide conservation plan for the bird in conjunction with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). The chicken conservation area is about 40 million acres in the five states.