February 22, 2004
Jim Shroyer of Manhattan, Kansas, shot this photo of a Greater Prairie-Chicken in the Flint Hills several miles south of his hometown. Jim watched and photographed from inside a blind while the bird performed its "booming" display to impress a potential mate.
"For a brief moment I was worried the blind would distract the festivities, but occasionally an exuberant male would jump onto the wooden freight box (with me in it) and proceed to drum his feet and boom," Jim says. "It was loud, but it was also hilarious. At times, they were so close that I would have to take the 2x converter off my camera so I could focus."
For a period of nearly three weeks in March, Jim observed the birds (Tympanuchus cupido)
for a couple of hours a day. He's glad he braved the chilly weather. "I learned a lot about prairie-chickens," he says. "It was time well spent."
To get the shot, he used an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic camera, 2x teleconverter, 400mm lens, a tripod, and 400 ASA Ektachrome film.
You can get ID tips for Greater Prairie-Chickens in the October 2003 issue
of Birder's World