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Greater Prairie Chicken Series

Greater Prairie Chicken Series

Archival print

Wildlife photography requires the eye of an artist and the methodical persistence of a scientist. Through their work, wildlife photographers share multiple messages with their audience; the photographic images are breathtaking, educational, and serve as compelling illustrations for conservation campaigns.

In this series, Paothong documents greater prairie chicken mating dances. The performance is a spectacle: males repeatedly stomp their feet, present their neck feathers, and spread their tail feathers wide. Deep breathes fill up distinctive orange air sacs, then the birds exhale, creating a low, booming song that sounds like air blowing across a bottle top. When females approach, the booming sound intensifies. This impressive display is unfortunately becoming all too rare due to habit loss and population decline.

Paothong is a professional wildlife photographer who lives in Columbia, Missouri.

Noppadol Paothong