This is Passport to Texas
The most endangered bird in North America is a chicken. No, it’s not your ordinary farmyard fowl. It’s the extraordinary Attwater’s Prairie Chicken—a species unique to Texas coastal prairies. Yet, over the past two decades fewer than 100 individuals have been reported in the wild.
For a species that only lives on average two years—that’s a very bad place to be.
Mike Morrow is a wildlife biologist at the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Eagle Lake. He works with biologist Rebecca Chisholm.
You know, they’re [prairie chickens] an endangered species all over the rest of the country and the world. But this one here, lives only in Texas.
The birds are part of our natural heritage. At the refuge, Morrow and Chisholm work together to give the Prairie Chicken a chance at survival, which includes building predator deterrent fences around nest sites.
The idea of this predator deterrent fence Is to deflect predators away from the nest area so that hopefully they won’t find the nest and destroy it.
The fence doubles the chance of survival for the hens and chicks. And when there are fewer than 100 members in a population, you take those odds.
Working with—arguably the most endangered bird in North America—has its ups and downs. I mean, sometimes, it’s a little bit disappointing. Things don’t go quite as well as you want, but it’s also rewarding when things do. So I think everyone would agree that it’s worth it.
Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.
For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.