11 May '11, 8pm

A Bird's Convoluted Conservation Odyssey

Bill Schaefer/Idaho State Journal via AP Two males challenge each other in a ritual dance near a lek, or mating arena. The story of the greater sage grouse offers a wonderful window on the reality of conservation politics in the American West. Its quest for protection under the Endangered Species Act has been subject to politically tinged science and a logjam that the Fish and Wildlife Service finally hopes to break under an agreement that I wrote about on Wednesday in The Times. If you were pitching the story to a Hollywood studio, you might describe the saga as “Dirty Dancing ” meets “Shane.” The photo above explains the “Dirty Dancing” part:one of the grouse’s signature behaviors is the all-male challenge dance that precedes mating. Then the males ruffle their chest feathers into a magnificent billow and strut their stuff. (See the YouTube link below.) The “Shane” refer...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/a-birds-convolu...

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