Adult Prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) weigh around 2-3
pounds. They grow to be 16-18 inches long. They fly very well
but spend a lot of time on the ground feeding. They eat insects like
grasshoppers, ants, and leafhoppers. They only live for 2 to 3 years.
Prairie chickens can be found in Kansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska, as well as a few in Illinois. During Laura's childhood there used to be millions of prairie chickens. Today they are an endangered species and can be counted only in the hundreds.
Laura recalled in On the Banks of Plum Creek that the children playing outside the school sounded like a flock of prairie chickens! Click here to hear prairie chickens for yourself.