For a few days I was getting glimpses of some chicken-size birds outside my kitchen window behind my garden, under the pine trees. The first time I saw them I thought they were chickens and I was annoyed that they'd gotten out of their chicken run. But then, I looked again and they looked 'different'. With the naked eye, I could tell they weren't the partridge we see all the time around here, but they were so cautious that they'd disappear before I could get the binocs or put a zoom on the camera. Well, finally the other day, I was able to slap the zoom on my camera (a funny story in itself) and have a better look at these birds, and yep! They're Prairie Chickens. They have been nearly non-existent in this area for a LONG time. How exciting to see them again. The cold weather apparently has brought them down from the ridge where they would normally be and they've been scratching at the dirt under our trees - the only place there is dirt! I've been throwing a handful of grain out there now and I've seen them nearly every day. How exciting! I feel like a real birder, now.
There are eight in this little flock. I really love their feet - extra warmth from feathers it looks like, to me.