Prairie Chicken Booming

Every spring, the Buena Vista Marsh is alive with the wild voices and stomping feet of the greater prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido).  The prairie chicken is known for its annual mating ritual during which the males dance in a circle with their wings over their heads, jump in the air, make a loud booming call and square off against one another in order to attract a hen.  The DNR provides a series of blinds throughout southern Portage County, Wisconsin that can been used to study and observe these wonderful creatures.

Fran and Fred Hamerstrom started their internationly known studies of the greater prairie chicken in 1949. They were credited with playing a major role in keeping the bird from disappearing from the state. Their advocacy resulted in purchase of grassland in a patchwork distribution providing appropriate habitat sprinkled across a wide geographic area.  The Hamerstroms worked closely with the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point and were adjunct professors. Since the Hamerstrom’s have been influential in the development of UWSP, one could also say Stevens Point is what is today because of prairie chicken preservation.

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