Attwater's Greater Prairie-Chicken
Tympanuchus cupido attwateri
The "Attwater's" race of the Greater Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) is a Texas coastal subspecies of the Greater Prairie-Chicken. The Attwater's race has been declared endangered since 1967. As of 2008, the subspecies is in extremely low numbers and is only found in the wild in a few carefully regulated locations near the Texas coast. In the mid 1980s, however, it was somewhat more numerous and observers had the opportunity to get quite close to some of these birds in a photo blind. In early March, 1986, I had the opportunity to photograph some Attwater's Prairie-Chickens at the Attwater Prairie Chicken N.W.R., in Colorado Co., Texas. On this page I have posted some of the shots I took on that occasion. These were probably photographed with a Minolta X-570 camera and Vivitar 400mm lens on Kodachrome 64 film. These are marginal quality images from what I would expect today, but they are the best I have and I may never have another opportunity to photograph this species in the wild. These birds had showed up on a lek in the late afternoon while I was in a photo blind. I took a total of about 20 images. I sure wish I had taken more, but in those days that was pretty normal for me. At the bottom is a single shot from another occasion. See below for that shot and a caption. Images of the more widespread race of Greater Prairie-Chicken may be seen here.
Back in the 1980s and very early 1990s, this species was sometimes seen along the roadside near Tivoli, Refugio Co., Texas. Sadly, this is no longer true. In December, 1990, I found about 8 Attwater's Prairie-Chickens foraging along the side of Texas Hwy 35 just south of Tivoli and was able to get a few photos. The below image was taken with a Canon T90 and FD 400mm F/5.6 lens on Kodachrome 200.