Lesser Prairie Chickens 2013, Day 1 - Milnesand, NM
Stars & Sunrise - Milnesand, NM, File# 1311012
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I’m here in Milnesand, NM for the annual Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival. There’s a problem, however. This year there’s no festival. It was cancelled about three weeks ago due to poor numbers of accessible leks. The reason for that? The experts say it’s due to the very extensive drought being experienced by the Central United States, particularly this region of New Mexico. The result is the bird count is down and some leks are not even populated this year.
Today, I went to a very reliable lek and saw a few birds. But, I'm told other normally reliable leks are not producing birds making supporting the festival a bit of a challenge. Could you imagine paying your money, showing up, getting up at 4am, driving in the middle of the pitch black night, then seeing a lek with no birds? The organizers of the festival didn't want to suffer through that and made a call. It's a gutsy move but I think the right one in that the birds are stressed already. No sense in having 20 vans descend on them.