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038 KING OF THE BOOMING GROUNDS - PRAIRIE CHICKEN
Pawnee County, Nebraska. At sunrise on a frosty, dew covered hilltop, a male greater prairie chicken erects his tail, droops his wings and proclaims its territory in a repetitive, almost harmonic booming sound for all others chickens to hear. Each spring, prairie chickens return to these elevated, grazed areas in grasslands called 'leks', or 'booming grounds', where breeding males perform ancient courtship displays and fight to compete for the female's favor. Like many other plains species, prairie chickens have suffered significant habitat losses over the years as prairie has been converted to farmland or other development. Today their numbers continue to decline over most of their range.