Two male Attwater’s prairie-chickens fight for dominance and position at The Nature Conservancy’s Texas City Prairie Preserve. Though fights are common, the birds are seldom injured. The strongest males usually end up in the center of the booming ground, displaying and squabbling constantly with other males in case a female flies in to select a mate.



Managers at the Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR must use controlled fire to kill invasive woody species and keep the prairie healthy.



The Houston ship channel flows through what used to be native coastal prairie. Industrial development and sprawl from the city have greatly reduced the range of the Attwater’s prairie-chicken and other wildlife to small pockets of grassland habitat.



A Cooper’s hawk feeds on a male Attwater’s prairie-chicken it killed on a lek near Texas City, TX. Birds of prey are avital part of a healthy ecosystem, but since APC’s habitat has shrunk to a few small patches of prairie, hawks pose a substantial risk to the endangered bird.



A male Attwater’s prairie-chicken watches the sky for predators. The endangered birds depend on native coastal prairiegrasses for food and a place to hide from predators.



The endangered Attwater’s prairie-chicken needs short grass to see other members of its species as well as predators. Biologists rotate cattle grazing to simulate the bison that once kept the prairie trimmed.



A heat lamp serves as a surrogate mother for this juvenile Attwater’s prairie-chicken at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Captive breeding efforts are the species’ only hope for survival.



This captive-born chick resting in the hands of a biologist represents the last hope for the Attwater’s prairie-chicken. The species which used to number over a million strong is now down to a few dozen, holding out in small islands of Texas coastal prairie.



Predators have coexisted for centuries with the Attwater’s prairie-chicken. In recent decades, shrinking habitat has left the grouse nowhere to hide, making predation a significant problem.



A captive-born mother and chick wait in the safety of a pre-release pen. Once they ventured out into the wild, however, the mother was killed within two weeks by a raptor.



This cattle pasture 40 miles from Houston is now the last booming ground or lek for the Attwater’s prairie-chicken. Between ten and twenty birds use this spot every year, but how long they can hold out is uncertain.

Photo: Julie Jensen Director of Marketing | WVC O: 866.800.7326 | D: 702.443.9249 | E:

Speaking Engagements

Joel is a popular keynote speaker with conservation, corporate, and civic groups.

Hire him to entertain and inspire your audience.

Book Joel To Speak

The Photo Ark

Joel is the founder of the Photo Ark, a groundbreaking effort to document every species in captivity before it’s too late.

Explore the Photo Ark

Visit Our Store

Every purchase goes directly to support our mission: getting the public to care and helping to save species from extinction.

Help Us Build the Ark