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Feds to place avian-dinosaur on Endangered Species List
Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said he knows the decision will be
unpopular with governors in the five affected states, but said the agency was
following the best science available.
The prairie chicken, a type of grouse known for its colorful neck plume and
stout build, has lost more than 80 percent of its traditional habitat, mostly
because of human activity such as oil and gas drilling, ranching and
construction of power lines and wind turbines, Ashe said. The bird, which
weighs from 1-1/2 to 2 pounds, has also been severely impacted by the region's
Biologists say a major problem is that prairie chickens fear tall structures,
where predators such as hawks can perch and spot them. Wind turbines,
electricity transmission towers and drilling rigs are generally the tallest
objects on the plains.
Last year, the prairie chicken's population across the five states declined to
fewer than 18,000 birds — nearly 50 percent lower than 2012 population