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Venus and a crescent moon dominate the pre-dawn sky, but already the prairie is alive with the mating songs of birds. Dave Trauba, manager of the Lac qui Parle refuge, makes early morning runs to listen for the booming calls of male prairie chickens to monitor how the re-introduced birds are doing. In each of the last three years, he has heard fewer prairie chickens. Tribune photos by Tom Cherveny

Audio: Listening for prairie chickens in Lac qui Parle County

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Dave Trauba listens to the early-morning sounds of the Watson prairies, hoping to hear a prairie chicken.

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