The Lesser Prairie Chicken is the subject of a large aerial survey, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines whether or not it's endangered.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are checking five states which might be breeding areas for the species, even in the recent drought.
Texas and New Mexico are two of the states being researched.
The lesser prairie found in West Texas, including Andrews and Gaines counties. The chicken also has a habitat in eastern New Mexico.
The aerial study should be done by Fall 2012, and a decision on whether or not to list the Lesser Prairie Chicken on the Endangered Species List is possible as soon as Spring 2013.
The survey comes less than a month after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided not to list the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard on the Endangered Species List.
Had the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard -- which has a large habitat in West Texas and southeast New Mexico -- been listed, the result could have proved catastrophic to the region's oil industry.