Illinois counting its chickens

July 14, 2006

A research scientist in Illinois wants to bring the state's prairie chicken population back to the level it was when Abraham Lincoln was alive.

Jeff Walk, who works for the Illinois Natural History Survey, believes it will only take 10 years to have a viable, self-sustaining population living in the open grasslands of Pyramid State Park, the Southern Illinoisian newspaper reports.

According to estimates, in Lincoln's day some 10 million to 15 million prairie chickens roamed the southern part of the state but their numbers soon dropped because of an agricultural boom that robbed them of grasslands.

"Pyramid is our best shot for establishing another population, because of its size," Walk explained. "It takes probably at least 5,000 acres of grassland in a small area. There are very, very few places in the state where we have those conditions."

Prairie chickens are members of the grouse family.

Donor birds would likely come from Nebraska, one of the few remaining states with a substantial prairie chicken population.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Snake fungal disease parallels white-nose syndrome in bats

Related Stories

Scientists gear up to fight deadly snake fungal disease

July 15, 2014

Researchers have developed a faster and more accurate way to test for infection with Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is killing snakes in the Midwest and eastern United States. The test also allows scientists to ...

Recommended for you

French teen finds 560,000 year-old tooth (Update)

July 28, 2015

A 16-year-old French volunteer archaeologist has found an adult tooth dating back around 560,000 years in southwestern France, in what researchers hailed as a "major discovery" Tuesday.

The couple who Facebooks together, stays together

July 27, 2015

Becoming "Facebook official" is a milestone in modern romance, and new research suggests that activities on the popular social networking site are connected to whether those relationships last.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.