Flint Hills prairie chickens – the rest of the story

One of the frustrating things about writing for a newspaper is there’s only a finite amount of space. Sometimes we just don’t have the space to provide every detail on a subject.

Sunday’s story about the rapid decline of Flint Hills prairie chickens is an example. CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORY.

The article’s many paragraphs about the decline, the possible reasons for the decline and the on-going research study hoping to provide more information were the most important aspects.

Here’s some more information related to the story.

—  If a way can be found to up survival of eggs and pre-flight chicks the chances of the species doing better in the Flint Hills are very good.

—Lance McNew, head of the research project, said past studies show Flint Hills prairie chickens have a 70-percent chance of making it to the following spring once they learn to fly. That’s a very high number compared to similar birds, like other grouse, quail and pheasants.

— McNew’s research has shown Flint Hills prairie chickens have the longest life-spans of the eight grouse species of North America.

— Of the predation of adult prairie chickens predation by human hunters is very slight. McNew’s past four year study had only four of more than 1,000 studied birds shot by human hunters. That’s a mortality rate of .004 percent to hunting.

— McNew said it’s important hunting seasons continue so the study can qualify for funding from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Together they pay a high majority of the $866,000 to fund the research project from money raised from the sale of hunting licenses and excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment. Federal regulations say such funding can’t be spent on non-game species.

— The story also didn’t include information about an online photo gallery with about 20 photos taken while spending two mornings afield with McNew. Click the above link and you’ll find the gallery listed just below the link to the article.