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Konza Environmental Education Program

Greater Prairie-chicken Viewing

Dates:
Thursday through Sunday, March 16 – April 23, 2017
Reservations required - (785) 587-0381  or  Keeped@ksu.edu

Cost:
Must be a member of the Friends of Konza Prairie  - $30/per person or $50/family to become a member.  

Time:
Thursday - Sunday, arrival before first light.

Description:
Viewing the courtship behavior of the Greater Prairie-chicken will be allowed by reservation only and is on a first-come-first-served basis.  Konza Prairie Biological Station and the Konza Environmental Education Program offer guided tours from an observation blind, four weeks each spring.  The observation blind can seat six to eight persons, and smaller groups are asked to share the blind with others.  Through ports in the seated blind, visitors come within 75 to 150 yards of 5 to 10 booming birds.  Peak activity on the Konza Prairie main lek occurs in early April.


Image Gallery of Greater Prairie-chicken on Konza Prairie, courtesy of Dr. Dave Rintoul, K-State
Video and audio of courtship display, from The Nature Conservancy

Observing the following guidelines will minimize disturbance of the lek and help protect this valuable resource:

  • Arrive at the designated meeting location no later than 1½ hours before sunrise.  Konza Prairie guides do not wait for late participants.  Anyone arriving without a reservation will not be permitted to visit the lek.  (Click here for sunrise times for Manhattan, Kansas.)
  • Plan to be seated in the observation blind 1 hour before sunrise and stay inside until the birds have finished courtship displays and flushed the lek, until 8:30 am or 9:00 am (approximately 3 hours).
  • Binoculars or spotting scopes are highly recommended. Photography is permitted for personal use only. (No flash please.)
  • Be prepared for cold weather.  Dress appropriately in layers and wear sturdy walking shoes.  You may wish to wrap your legs in a blanket.  Expect a ½-mile walk from the parking area to the observation blind.
  • Keep noise to a minimum.  Especially consider sounds made by your clothing fabric and equipment.
  • There are no restrooms or water available.
  • At your discretion, bring a small pillow to cushion the wooden bench in the blind.
  • Please - no children under the age of 12.

Special instructions for group reservations:

You may wish to reserve all eight spaces in the observation blind exclusively for your group or organization.  Advance reservation of at least four weeks is recommended to ensure availability of your choice of visit date.

Deposit.  To reserve the blind exclusively for your group, a deposit is required and must be received 10 days in advance of your visit.  The deposit is equal to half the total cost to reserve all eight spaces in the observation blind.  The deposit will be held and applied to your group’s total cost at the time of your visit.  Please send your deposit as check or money order payable to Konza Prairie.  Please call our office before mailing the deposit to ensure availability of your choice of date.

Confirmation.  Seven days in advance of your visit, a confirmation is needed to reserve the exact number of spaces.  If it happens your group does not need all eight spaces, your group may be joined by other individuals who make a reservation.

Cancellation.  If you must cancel please do so no later than 7 days in advance of your visit to guarantee that your deposit can be returned.  In the event of severe weather, such as lightning or high winds, we may have to cancel.   Your guide will contact you and your deposit will be refunded.  

Location and Directions:
To be provided with your reservation.

For more information or to make a reservation:
Reservations will be taken beginning in December.
Reservations are on a first-come-first-served basis.
Make arrangements for your visit as far in advance as possible.
Contact us with cancellations within 36 hours of your arrival time.

Hallie Hatfield
Education Program Assistant - (785) 587-0381 - keeped@ksu.edu