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Past studies show prairie chicken numbers are dropping because they fail to raise young. An on-going study hopes to find why.
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Michael Pearce / The Wichita Eagle
A male prairie chicken displaying on his territory in the Flint Hills.
A fading sight in the Flint Hills, prairie chickens on their springtime breeding area. Biologists are working on a study to determine why the birds aren't very success with raising young.
Two male prairie chickens fight for dominance at a breed ground in Greenwood County. The traps in the background catch the birds an allow biologists to fit them with tracking devices.
A male prairie chicken displays Wednesday morning.
Male prairie chickens display on a lek with live-traps in the background. Biologists are hoping to prove why the birds are failing to produce young birds most years in the Flint Hills.
A male prairie chicken displays his best in the Flint Hills where their numbers are on steady decline.
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Biologist Lance McNew uses a dip net to remove a prairie chicken from a trap so it can be fitted with tracking devices.
A hen prairie chicken trapped in the Flint Hills Wednesday morning. She's been fitted with leg bands and a tracking collar.
A hen prairie chicken with the tracking device that will allow biologists to track her movements and monitor her success at nesting this spring.
A hen prairie chicken that' been fitted with a tracking collar that's down within her feathers. The long antennae is just above her back.
Flint Hills rancher Bill Browning releases a prairie chicken after it had been tagged for research.
A male prairie chicken rests atop a trap set to catch the birds in the Flint Hills. Biologist are working to find a way to reverse their downward population trend.
Over the past five years Lance McNew's research has shown Flint Hills prairie chickens are almost completely failing to produce young. A current research project should tell him why.
Biologist Lance McNew runs to remove prairie chickens from a wire trap before they're injured.
Lance McNew removing a prairie chicken trapped for a research project currently going on at about 60,000 acres in the Flint Hills.
Lance McNew records details on tracking leg bands before placing them on a prairie chicken.
A prairie chicken just fitted with leg bands biologists use to identify the birds.
Biologist Lance McNew releases a prairie chicken after it was fitted with a tracking device.
Biologist Lance McNew packs a drop-net used to capture prairie chickens in the Flint Hills for an on-going research project.
Biologist Lance McNew checks traps where short fences funnel prairie chickens to metal cages so they can be fitted with tracking devices.
Related story: Are burning, grazing bad for prairie chickens in Flint Hills?