Mark Gardiner’s ranch in southwestern Kansas has seen a few changes over the last 130 years it’s been in the family. What began as a 160-acre homestead would eventually swell to more than 48,000 acres of ranchland where Angus cattle can be seen grazing under a seemingly endless sky. But one thing has stayed constant at the Gardiner Angus Ranch: the presence of a certain rare, dancing bird — the Lesser Prairie-Chicken.
“There’s prairie chickens over our entire ranch, and I’ve seen them ever since I was a kid,” Gardiner said. “Fortunately, this is one of the largest and one of the best prairie chicken populations — not only in Kansas, but anywhere.”