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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: j.jensen@wvc.org

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