New Mexico Wildlife

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

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Last Updated: 4/2/2013

12th Annual High Plains


Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival


Friday - Sunday, April 19-21, 2013
Photo: Dan Williams

Nature enthusiasts from around the country will hear the annual calls of the lesser prairie chickens this April and flock to Milnesand, N.M., for opportunities to see the birds' colorful, sometimes comical, mating rituals on the prairie grasslands of southeastern New Mexico.


Be sure to register early for the 12th Annual High Plains Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival. The event is limited to 100 individuals, and spots usually are full by the April 1 signup deadline. Registration is limited because of the sensitivity of the lesser prairie chicken during the breeding season. A fee of $125 per person covers all field trips, five meals and a commemorative poster.


Festival participants will have opportunities to:


  • Observe and photograph the mating rituals of the lesser prairie-chicken at close range, either from the comfort of a passenger van or in a livestock trailer made into a comfortable photo blind ($35 per person for the blind).
  • Bird watch with some of the best birders in New Mexico.
  • Talk with ranchers and biologists working to conserve prairie chickens.
  • Learn about the Southern Great Plains ecosystem.
  • Enjoy good food and Western hospitality.


Festival sponsors include the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the Nature Conservancy of New Mexico, the Grasslans Charitable Foundation, and the Community of Milnesand.


Milnesand is a small crossroads community in the heart of eastern New Mexico's prairie grasslands about 30 miles south of Portales. More information, including a registration form and accommodations is available by clicking on the link below:



Tish McDaniel
(575) 762-6997 or


Poster Contest:


Artists of all ages are invited to try their hand at depicting one of New Mexico’s most colorful upland birds as a participant in this year’s High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival poster contest.

The grand prize winning entry will be reproduced on the annual festival poster, and the artist will receive $300. The other top winners among three age categories: adult, grades 7-12, and grades K-6, will receive $50. Prize money is courtesy of the Grasslans Charitable Foundation.


Please click here for more information about the contest.