48 wonders of the West

These national monuments and other treasures will make you fall in love with the West all over again

14 national treasures in the West

These unique landscapes have been suggested for national monument status. But you don't have to wait for Washington, D.C., to decide. Here's where to go right now.

West's amazing places: Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve
Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve, New Mexico

The Lesser Prairie Chicken is adorable, with patterned feathers that would earn raves on Project Runway. It has a flamboyant love life, too, with males gathering in a mating ground to strut, puff out their chests, and “boom”—expel air from bright orange air sacs on the sides of their heads. All this is done in hopes of thrilling female prairie chickens.

About 50 miles east of Roswell, New Mexico, the  Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve offers the sand dunes and shinnery oak the chicken loves. The preserve has even made this part of New Mexico a must stop for birders eager to add the species to their life lists. 

Join the hosts of bird watchers at the Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival in April. For maps and more, contact the BLM’s Pecos office at 2909 W. Second Street, Roswell, NM; (575) 627-0272.

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