Come out and help ensure the continuing survival of the Lesser Prairie Chicken in Woodward Oklahoma in April 2009. By marking barbed wire fences in the home range of LPCH we can help reduce mortalities caused by fence collisions. The Sutton Avian Research Center has shown that fences (particularly in Oklahoma, due to the extraordinary fence densities in the NW region) contribute significantly to mortality rates in this species. The pie-charts are from the Sutton Center and they show quite well the problems these birds are facing.
Raptor and Mammal caused mortalities contribute, but they are part of the natural cycle of life . What LPCH's can't afford are the large black slices of the pies. You can find a whole lot more at http://www.suttoncenter.org/LPCH.html . Don Wolfe, who is the senior bilogist on this project since its upstart, has loads of information about this species (and other grouse) and I encourage anyone interested in attending the Woodward LPCH festival to take a look at some of the information available at their web-site. The center has been marking fences (some of which I have helped with) for the past three-four years, and since that time they have yet to find a dead prairie chicken next to a marked fence. What a success rate, I'm sure in the not so far future we will see a publication about their positive findings.
In April the Oklahoma Important Bird Areas program is sponsoring a fence marking weekend (just like last year) at the Selman Ranch. Our goal is to finish marking all of the interior fences on the Selman Ranch IBA. If we run out of fence, we may have a chance to mark on some other properties, but I am still working on this. In any case this conservation action project is very significant and please don't hesitate to visit the Oklahoma Audubon Council website and read more about the upcoming festival!
Oh by the way. I know for a fact that some highly rated bloggers will be at this festival. The "Bird Chick" Sharon Stiteler is our keynote speakerhttp://www.birdchick.com/blog.html ! Debby Kaspari from the blog
"Drawing the Motmot" http://drawingthemotmot.wordpress.com/ and artist extraordinaire will be our featured artist. I also have an notion that the witty and always fun Timothy Ryan from the blog "From the Faraway Nearby" http://www.adventuresoftimtim.blogspot.com/ might make an appearance. Hopefully when he reads this he'll give it more thought!