Just What is a Boomer?

The Boomers are proud to honor the Great Prairie Chicken, a native bird of Illinois.

The word "boomer" is a nickname for the male Greater Prairie Chicken and refers to the loud "booming" sound the bird makes during mating season. The inflatable orange patches on each side of the male prairie chicken’s neck produce the noise. The males also have a yellow-orange comb over their eyes and special neck feathers that rise up when the bird is performing its courtship display on the "lek" or "booming grounds." Female prairie chickens are plain looking and lack the colorful markings of the males.

The elaborate courtship ritual of the Greater Prairie Chicken is well known in the world of nature. The male "boomers" face off with each other and spar on the lek, doing their best to capture the attention of the by standing females. It is a scene that plays out every spring morning in suitable prairie habitat in several Midwest and Great Plains states.

As seen in the Schaumburg Boomers logo, the Greater Prairie Chicken is a very distinctive bird. It's colorful markings, spirited courtship display and unique "booming" call places this species in a league of its own!

The Male Greater Prairie Chicken

Prairie Chicken Fact Sheet: "Prairie Chickens..."

  • Were prevalent in Schaumburg within the last 100 years.
  • Used to be served as a delicacy at fine restaurants
  • Suffered significant decline since the Great Depression largely due to increase in corn farming in the Midwest which in turn reduced the amount of prairieland.
  • Are noted on the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board and there is a Prairie Chicken Recovery Plan.
  • Are in the grouse family and weigh about one to one and half pounds each 
  • Cannot be hunted in the State of Illinois
  • 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, Ill. & Salem Ill. are the only areas for Prairie Chickens now in Illinois
    • Only about 100 remain in the entire state and there were 5-12 million in Illinois during the Abe Lincoln era!