ccassady practice page 2

Sage grouse

Greater sage-grouse live amid sagebrush plants in the American West.

The greater sage-grouse is a chubby bird, with a speckled body and stumpy feet. The male has a bright yellow sac on his chest that inflates like a life jacket, and a spiky tail that fans out when he’s trying to woo a female.

That flashy mating routine has earned hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, but it hasn’t stopped the population of the strange-looking bird from dwindling. The greater-sage grouse is in trouble.

Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must decide by Sept. 30 whether to add the bird to its endangered species list, and it is a decision with billion-dollar consequences. Declaring the bird endangered would virtually shut down huge swaths of land to other uses in the 11 states the bird currently inhabits.

Bee on a purple flower

Lily pads

Palo Verde tree







That possibility has sparked a backlash from some Republicans and other pro-business proponents — who cite a well-regarded study that claims declaring the sage grouse as endangered would cost the U.S. more than $5.6 billion in annual economic output.

black & white cat
yellow daisy

cat lying on grass