Big Things of the Northern Plains

World's Largest Prairie Chicken

Rothsay MN / N46o2830 W96o1649

Rothsay's designation as the Prairie Chicken Capitol of Minnesota was the bright idea of Gordon Nelson, a wildlife manager for the state Department of Natural Resources, who broached the proposition in a talk to a study club in Rothsay on June 10, 1975. Art Fosse of Rothsay led the effort to create a giant replica of the greater prairie chicken, a 14-inch grouse, in 1976, contributing equipment and his shop for its construction, while local artist Dale Western took care of the production details. The structure, standing 13 by 18 feet, concrete on a steel frame, weighs more than 9,000 pounds. The monument displays the bird performing the spring mating ritual known as booming, puffing out the orange air sacs on his throat. It was dedicated at a park named for Art Fosse on June 15, 1976. The bird booms beneath an American flag within sight of Interstate 94. Once plentiful in the region, prairie chickens have declined with the loss of tallgrass prairie.--Research by Adam Wolfe & Mitch Tommerdahl, HIST 431, Fall 2008

Photo Gallery Photos by Adam Wolfe, 22 November 2008

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Big Things of the Northern Plains / Center for Heritage Renewal