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Some of the world's best lesser prairie chicken habitat is in the area of the Chalk Pyramids.
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Michael Pearce / The Wichita Eagle
Lark buntings are common on the prairies of western Kansas.
A hen prairie chicken stays close by as researchers work with her brood.
Lesser prairie chickens displaying on a lek Monday morning.
A hen prairie chicken flies close by as researchers work with her brood.
Biologist Reid Plumb working to attach a tracking device to a tiny prairie chicken chick.
Cliff swallows in nests of mud they've made.
A cat-sized swift fox on the prairie.
Three young lesser prairie chicken chicks.
A mule deer doe.
Researcher Reid Plumb tries to locate a hen lesser prairie chicken that's expected to hatch a brood at any time.
Prairie chicken chicks being released.
A mule deer doe bedded in the shade of a rock formation.
Wild flowers growing on the western Kansas prairie attract insects and produce seeds. Both are important for prairie chickens.
A day-old lesser prairie chicken chick, fitted with a tracking device.
Alix Godar listens to see if a hen has gotten back with her brood.
Working on private lands, often with cattle, means researchers open and shut a lot of gates.
A Gove County rock formation is in the distance as Alix Godar closes a gate.
Whitetail deer, like these bucks, share the prairie with lesser prairie chickens.
Researchers use a variety of vehicles to cover many miles most days.
Chicks gather around a bottle of hot water for warmth.
Measurements being taken from a trapped male prairie chicken.
Biologist Reid Plumb attaching a tracking device to a chick.
A black-crowned night heron on a pool of shallow water in Scott City.
Reid Plumb checks vegetation levels as part of the study to learn more about lesser prairie chickens.
Researchers Reid Plumb, right, Jake Danner and John Kraft gathering data from a brood of lesser prairie chicken chicks.
Checking where a wire fence leads birds into a trap.
Lesser prairie chicken males display for hens Monday morning in Gove County.
Researcher Erica Skorlinksi watches a prairie chicken fly away after it was attached with identifying devices.
Measuring the leg bone of a chick.
The yellow air sack of a greater prairie chicken. Lessers are red.
The multi-colored air sack on this prairie chicken shows it's probably a greater/lesser hybrid.
A day-old lesser prairie chicken chick in a bag for weighing.
Erica Skorlinski holds a trapped male prairie chicken while Reid Plumb gathers data.
Chicks are placed inside a cooler with a bottle of hot water to keep them warm.
Researcher Reid Plumb removes a prairie chicken trapped in April.
Jake Danner weighs a day-old chick.
Setting a prairie chicken trap on a lek in Gove County.
A day-old lesser prairie chicken fitted with a tracking device for research.
Taking measurements from a young chick.
Heading back after setting prairie chicken traps.
A lark sparrow, a common bird on the prairie shared with lesser prairie chickens, with a grasshopper.
Biologist Reid Plumb watches a lek in early April.
A burrowing owl.
A day-old chick scampering away after being weighed and measured.
A snapping turtle survives in a thin pool of water on the Smoky Hill River.
In early April, researchers rush to remove a prairie chicken from a trap.
Walking into the sunrise, after working with a brood of chicks.
Wild turkeys in Gove County.
Skin samples are taken so a bird's DNA can be taken.
Antelope on a ranch where lesser prairie chickens are being studied.
Data from checking eight, day-old lesser prairie chicken chicks.
Researcher Erica Skorlinski holds a male bird. The bands on its legs are so it can be identified.
A day-old chick fitted with a tracking transmitter.
After working with a brood of day-old chicks, Reid Plumb checks to see if their hen has returned.
Pre-dawn Monday morning Reid Plumb checks for the location of a hen that had hatched a brood on Sunday.
Researchers head back to their vehicle after setting traps for prairie chickens in early April.
Researcher John Kraft notes measurements from chicks.
Related story: Study looks for clues to lesser prairie chicken survival