Hi ho – it is off to the blind we go

Prairie Chicken Kiosk south of Plover (late August)

Prairie Chicken Kiosk south of Plover (late August)

(continued from the previous post)

It is early spring outside but inside I am gathering my warmest clothing.  Big thick boots, heavy winter parka, long johns, hat, gloves, hand and feet warmers; all laid out. It is the night before and all is ready.

The alarm goes off at about O’dark Hundred and I quickly get ready for the big adventure. The morning is cold, very cold and still very dark. I need to hurry because I have a date.

pcmaA date at the prairie chicken kiosk south of Plover at 4:30 AM.  I am not the first but certainly not the last to arrive.  Talking to the others, we find most of us are from central Wisconsin but a few have traveled some distance to view the greater prairie chickens dance.

Our guides give us a brief introduction to the mornings activity and then split us into smaller groups.  My group of three will climb into our respective cars and follow a guide to the vicinity of our viewing station – a small plywood box in the middle of field.  They call it a blind. In the early morning hours, before sunrise, it really was a blind, I couldn’t see it.

Prairie chickens return to the same grounds each year to perform their dance and find a mate. Blinds are placed in these grounds as part of an on going study monitoring the health and well being of the population.

The guide points us in the general direction of the blind and then sends us on our way. Using our flashlights we make our way down a faint path and eventually find our way to the blind.

Prairie Chicken blind in the field.

Prairie Chicken blind in the field.

You can reserving a seat in a viewing blind by  calling 715-343-6215. Viewing starts at 4:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Buena Vista Marsh, Saturday at Mead Wildlife Area and Saturday and Sunday at Paul J. Olson Wildlife Area.

(continued on the next post)

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