What is a Boomer?
The Boomers name honors the Greater Prairie Chicken, a native bird of Illinois.
The word "boomer" is a nickname for the male Greater Prairie Chicken. It refers to the loud booming sound the bird makes as it “dances” to assert its dominance over other males during mating season.
The birds gather on flat prairie land, which is known as a “lek” or more commonly as the “booming grounds”. As they strut, stomp, flutter, and fight one another, the chickens display a few remarkable traits.
Greater Prairie Chickens have orange patches on each side of their faces, around their jowls. These patches inflate, as they are in our Boomers logo, and it’s from here that the chickens produce their signature sounds. The male chicken also has a yellow-orange comb of feathers above his eyes and a ring of feathers around his neck. Both rise when the bird is performing its courtship display.
Prairie Chicken Facts
- They were prevalent in Schaumburg within the last 100 years.
- They used to be served as a delicacy at fine restaurants.
- Numbers of them declined significantly in the 20th century as the amount of unfarmed prairie land has diminished.
- Listed on the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board, there is a Prairie Chicken Recovery Plan.
- Members of the grouse family, they weigh between one and two pounds.
- Legally, they cannot be hunted in the State of Illinois.
- Populations live mostly in the Great Plains states, especially Kansas and Nebraska, with much smaller populations in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
- Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Newton and Salem, Illinois is the only area where Prairie Chickens currently live in our state.
- Only about 100 Greater Prairie Chickens remain in Illinois—there were once between 5-12 million in the era of Abraham Lincoln!