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May 20 2014

Cash-Strapped Illinois Spends $1,166 per Bird to Import Prairie Chickens From Kansas

Like most states run by liberals, Illinois has been experiencing cash flow problems. But apparently that’s no reason to ease up on the waste:

Our cash-strapped state government has found a new use for its fleet of aircraft – flying birds into Illinois. …

State aircraft are flying to Kansas and transporting prairie chickens back to the Land of Lincoln.

And at a time state lawmakers are looking at raising the state income tax, Illinois state employees have been hiking across Kansas trapping these chickens.

In case you are wondering why anyone would want to do this,

“Illinois is the Prairie State and prairie chickens are an endangered species here, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring them back,” said Scott Simpson, site manager for Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Newton, Ill.

At least only Illinois residents have to pay for this lunacy. No wait:

The feds are chipping in $337,000 toward the program and the state will pay $117,000.

Federal standards of economic efficiency apply:

So far this year, the state has relocated 50 cocks and 41 hens. That puts the cost of the program at $1,166 per bird.

Here is the backdrop to this story in moonbat-run Illinois, the state that gave us Barack Obama:

It ought to be pointed out that this is all happening at a time that basic state services are being cut, state pensions are underfunded by more than $100 billion and Illinois has at least $6.7 billion in unpaid bills. And now lawmakers are backpedaling on their promise to let the “temporary” 67 percent income tax hike expire.

On the federal level, the national debt exceeds $17.5 trillion and continues to rocket upward.

Since Democrats will never stop wasting other people’s money, the debt will continue to climb until the economy can no longer sustain it. Then everything falls to pieces. Kansas prairie chickens who want to immigrate to Illinois will have to make their own arrangements as the government focuses on attempting to maintain order.

To our rulers, $1,166 per bird of our money is chicken feed.

On a tip from Dan Feely.

  • Pork_Soda

    Do they TASTE like chicken?? They look delicious!

  • Tim

    How can something be endangered if its striving enough a few states over that you can remove them without any threat to the population there? They’re not endangered its just Illinois is such a liberal shit hole that even the animals know the gig and have up and left town.

  • SNuss

    We may not have many prairie chickens in the Peoples’ Republic of Illinois, but our politicians (especially the Democrats) are some of the biggest TURKEYS that the world has ever seen

  • MicahStone

    “Cash-Strapped Illinois Spends $1,166 per Bird to Import Prairie Chickens From Kansas”
    ….Libs choice: FRIED or ROASTED !! (-it’s on the taxpayer, as usual!)

  • KHarn

    How many birds DIED en-route?

  • Sonny Cohen

    Sorry to interrupt the public tirade with facts.

    Prairie Chicken relocation project is being paid out of funds dedicated
    for wildlife preservation at both the state and federal level not to
    mention direct public donation. Not one penny, including the lovely
    airplane rides comes from general funds.

    But wait there’s more. Prairie
    Chickens and the habitat they occupy in Jasper and Marion County bring
    hundreds of ecotourists- birders who want to see this bird and scores of
    others endemic to native grasslands. There are literally lines forming
    to view the Prairie Chicken when the population becomes more stable. I
    know it sounds funny if you are not a “birder”. But it is true. And these people spend a LOT of money on their hobby & sport.

    In fact, nationwide birding (go ahead a laugh at us) generates $107
    billion in total economic output. $40 billion in travel and food and
    666,000 jobs, $7 billion in federal general fund revenue and $6 billion
    in state general revenue fund (US Fish & Wildlife study of economic
    impact of birding in US 2011).

    To be against the Prairie Chicken project is to be against jobs, against
    tourism and economic gain. With Illinois’ public share coming from
    wildlife related fees & registrations, this project has NO cost to
    the average citizen but a huge economic gain to the state.

    Important science and powerful economics.

    You are entitled to your own opinion about this matter. But you are not entitled to your own facts

  • Eric

    Sonny, You said..

    “project is being paid out of funds dedicated
    for wildlife preservation at both the state and federal level”

    Would you care to define how this is not public funds from tax monies? If you had stipulated that they are exclusively from private donations made freely by private citizens out of their own pockets, you shouldn’t use keywords which indicate “appropriated” monies, such as state and federal, which indicate they are stolen from taxpaying working citizens.

    “Chickens and the habitat they occupy in Jasper and Marion County”

    Are these public lands, or privately owned property? Public lands means the people (collective, everyone) pay for the land the chickens use, not a person (individual, or group), my guess this is land owned by “the people” which means off limits to private citizens, who would likely make much better use of it.

    Yes, I said better use. 3000 acres of gone-to-fallow brush land for a thousand useless birds in prime farmland which could feed 10,000 head of cattle for a year, or tens of thousands of starving African/third world children, just so “birders” can observe them in their “natural” habitat? I smell government overreach, corruption, and graft.

    As far as your “facts” concerning the average citizen gaining some financial benefit from birder tourists, when was the last time any tourist gave anyone but a restaurant, hotel, gas station, airline, or other service job a penny?

    One more thing..
    “With Illinois’ public share coming from
    wildlife related fees & registrations, this project has NO cost to
    the average citizen but a huge economic gain to the state.”
    Public share…fees & registrations….
    Exactly who do you think pays these things? Well, you said it yourself, “public share”. I don’t know about you, but where I went to school, that is not INDIVIDUAL INCOME.
    I don’t need statistics (which you errantly call facts) when I can read through the newspeak of Socialistic indoctrination.

  • Eric

    How do they taste?
    Like chicken.

  • Carrie

    People breed these animals in captivity. If they really want these chickens for whatever reason, why not just buy from a breeder for way less than $1000+ a piece?


    That sounds pretty economical…. For instance in the peoples Republic of de Blasio, NYC is paying $1000 for each street tree it is planting as part of the Million Trees Campaign started under Der Furor Bloomberg.

    Having suffered catastrophic damage in Hurricane Sandy, with the cherry on top being the street tree in front of my home slamming into my home and taking another tree with it, I know a bit about street trees. After being left sitting on my home for more than a month – removing 30 ft tall toppled Ash trees are a bit out of my gardening ability, I was told it would be upwards of two years before the hole in the sidewalk could be filled with another tree by the city or I could plant one myself.

    For $175, delivered, I purchased a replacement and planted it myself… $1000 for the city to do it – surely with bulk discounts. I guess this means that digging a hole costs $825? That sustainability Liberals cry for NEVER APPLIES TO ECONOMICS OR FINANCE.

  • Sonny Cohen

    Great questions.

    I did not say this is “not public funds.” I indicated that the money is from sources earmarked specifically for these kind of projects. The source is not the general fund which comes from our income tax and is the focus of our state’s budget woes. The source is fishing & hunting licenses and the like and cannot be used for anything but supporting the activities of those who pay those fees.

    The land is a pastiche of public and private land. Over 200 acres is privately owned by the Illinois Audubon Society from donated funds. Over 200 acres is owned by a private business, AmerenCIPS. The balance is owned by the state of Illinois. The land is managed to protect 36 species of special concern, including 16 state
    endangered, eight state threatened, five watch list, and six area sensitive
    species. It is the only large grassland habitat complex in the entire
    Southern Till Plain Natural Division of Illinois.

    Prairie Ridge is and incredible resource open to the public subject to the need to protect certain species from encroachment. Visitors come from throughout the country. The Prairie Chicken breeding grounds, known as leks, can be observed from blinds. The view is amazing and there is tremendous amount of ecotourism to visit the area. A new private hotel recently opened in the area to accommodate visitors flocking 🙂 to the area.

    In sum this is good science and is a powerful stimulus for jobs and business. If you are not for it, you are against jobs, against business and against the environment. Fact.

    “newspeak of Socialist indoctrination” ? Go where you want with your ideology. This is good business and good use of public funds.

  • Gary Nelson

    I expect nothing less from out fine leaders. For any friends or family living in this fine state please consider buying you next car in Indiana. The sales tax stays in Indiana so it can’t be pissed away by the state run Libs. I paid 6.5% in Ft. Wayne same as McHenry County.

  • Appalled by The World

    This story makes me feel like a Roman citizen from the time of Nero-only these days our Neros are trumping the original by burning down an entire nation with insanity like this.

  • TrojanMan

    Two more weeks i will be a former resident of Illinois and a new resident of Texas!

  • grayjohn

    Sounds the work of Prairie Chicken chokers to me.

  • grayjohn

    Your check from the DNC director of Project TROLL is ready. Good work Tovarich!

  • Sonny Cohen

    Sorry the facts distort the story in your head. I’m real. You’re the anonymous coward. Who’s the troll?

  • Where’d all the chickens go?

    Kansas is currently having a big internal fight over protecting the prairie chicken there, because of supposed low numbers.

  • Eric

    Exactly where do you think the state gets money that does not come from taxes? Defining funds as “not from the general fund” does not change the fact that the GOV does not make money on anything it does (printing money is not making money). The GOV produces nothing which has a saleable value to a customer; NOT ONE THING. Not one penny in any of the GOV funds comes from something that the GOV makes and sells for a profit. Every single penny in the Treasury, and budget came from, or will come from the People.
    Exactly how many hunting licenses will be sold for the precious prairie chicken in it’s “natural” habitat? How many children will die of starvation because this land was used to save a bird, and not to feed human beings?
    In sum, how is it good science to let children die so a chicken can have “free range”? Again, you are displaying your instilled talking points about saving the “earth” and not seeing the lost lives and jobs just to save a worthless animal which nature has designated for extinction. Attempting to twist what I am for and against into your feeble twisted value mind is an exercise in futility, as you don’t have the capacity to understand logical thinking.
    How simple is this birdbrain. You want the GOV to force everyone to pay for some hobby which you have at the expense of the lives of people you care less about than an animal nature has chosen to exterminate. You are so feeble minded that you think only the GOV can do anything of importance. You want to save the damn chicken, YOU buy some land with YOUR OWN money and save the damn chicken.
    Leave me out of it! See? Your Socialism is screaming at you that I don’t understand, but I understand completely.

  • Bodhisattva

    So… what happens once they take so many from Kansas that they are declared threatened or extinct there due to their numbers falling below that necessary to sustain a breeding population? And how was it that they need them in Illinois anyway? What happened to the ones they had there and will the same thing happen to those they are kidnapping? PETA, busy hassling Sea World about a few ORCAS, better not get wind of this.

  • Bodhisattva


  • Bodhisattva

    Really? I speculated, but you apparently have information I don’t – where did you hear that?

  • Bodhisattva

    After reading “Where’d all the chickens go?” (see post immediately below mine), I did some research.

    There are actually two types of these birds:

    The lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) a species in the grouse family, is slightly smaller and paler than its near relative, the greater prairie chicken or pinnated grouse (Tympanuchus cupido). Both are now listed bu the ICUN (see next sentence) as “THREATENED/VULNERABLE”, but I need to explain that. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has 7 classifications in their version 3.1 listing scheme. From worst to best these are extinct (EX), extinct in the wild (EW), then the next three classifications are under the umbrella heading “THREATENED”, critically endangered (CR), endangered (EN), vulnerable (VU), and the last two are near threatened (NT) and least concerned (LC). There are two additional classifications that are not ranked: data deficient (DD) and not evaluated (NE).

    I expect the ICUN is mostly staffed by moonbats and, as you know, moonbats are not above exaggerating, lying, or as Al Gore put it, using
    “an over-representation of factual presentations” to achieve their goals. Moonbats claim we are now in a mass extinction event but, according to the ICUN, this is blatantly false. Mass extinction events are those in which over 70% of species, in fact often up to 90-95% of species, are killed off. Right now, according to the ICUN and it’s likely inflated figures (they’ve already been caught listing species as ‘extinct’ only to have them show back up in the wild) amphibians are the most threatened, with about 7% of known species listed as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED, 12% as ENDANGERED and 10% as VULNERABLE. I don’t see them listing any as ‘extinct’ or ‘extinct in the wild’ – so how is this a mass extinction event?

    The total number of known amphibian species is approximately 7,000, of which nearly 90% are frogs. Apparently it is believed 165 of the known species of amphibians have gone extinct – rounding up this yields a 2.4% extinction rate. Hardly a sign of a mass extinction, but as you know, moonbats believe and repeat whatever they are told.

  • Bodhisattva

    Kansas currently harbors two species of prairie grouse. The greater prairie chicken ( Tympanuchus cupido) is much more abundant than the lesser prairie chicken ( T. pallidicinctus). A third species of prairie grouse, the sharp-tailed grouse ( T. phasianellus) disappeared from it’s historic western Kansas range during the droughts of the 1930’s. Attempts to restore sharptails in the 1980’s and 1990’s, while initially promising, ultimately proved unsuccessful.

    Greater prairie chickens currently occur in parts of 10 states, but by far the largest populations occur in Kansas and Nebraska. The traditional stronghold of greaters in Kansas is the Flint Hills, a roughly 50-mile-wide band of tallgrass prairie that extends from the Oklahoma border northward nearly to the Nebraska line in the eastern third of the state.

    Lesser prairie chickens are indeed a bit smaller than their greater counterparts. Kansas currently harbors the most extensive remaining range and largest population of the lesser prairie chicken among the disjunct populations found in the 5 states where it occurs (KS, TX, NM, OK, CO). Greatest densities of lessers in Kansas occur in the remaining sandsage prairies of southwest Kansas, but extensive populations also occur in the mixed prairies of the Red Hills.

    Maintaining extensive tracts of open, well-managed prairie is critical to the conservation of prairie chickens. In Kansas, where 97% of the land is privately owned, ranchers are, unquestionably, the most important stewards of the prairies. Wildlife conservationists can best help conserve prairie chickens by forming alliances with ranchers to assist them in preventing tree invasion, to help them resist economic pressures to sell their lands, and to test new, economically-viable management systems that could prove more friendly to grassland wildlife. One such system with great promise is the “Patch Burning / Patch Grazing” system developed and tested by researchers at Oklahoma State University. Traditional grazing systems remain very viable for prairie health, provided they incorporate periodic fire ( not annual burning) and light to moderate stocking rates.

    Edited severely from:

  • Bodhisattva

    Well you have to understand, putting in a tree requires 3 people to come by (an actual worker, his or her supervisor and his or her supervisor) to survey the scene, then they had it over to another similar team that decides if and maybe also when (if when isn’t decided by yet a 3rd team) the tree will be replaced, then it’s off to the species selection team, then it’s off to the higher level approval team, then it goes over to budget and purchasing where someone has to type up the request and it has to wind it’s way through at least 5 and sometimes 10 levels for approval… well I’m getting tired of explaining this because nobody’s paying ME to do it, so I’ll just add that you have to remember most of those involved are in the UNION and since their union dues are taken out whether they like it or not, well you can begin to see where all the money goes.

    Straight into the pockets of corrupt union leaders and their corrupt political cronies.

    Now do you understand why it costs about 10 times as much for the city to do it?

  • Bodhisattva

    It wasn’t the price of the birds that cost so much. It was flying them in first class on private jets. It was the transport method chosen that boosted the price so much, apparently.

    So where do the chickens come in?

    “Down at the bottom of the letter,” Mitchell said. “There were a couple sentences about the chickens. That’s what started it.”

    So Mitchell started asking around during the budget hearings about the airplane fleet and the chickens and the Democrats got nervous and he didn’t get any answers.

    He got peeved, and a wire service reporter saw the anonymous letter, and within a day or so, the great Wild Bird vs. Beleaguered Taxpayer saga took flight.

    “They shipped less than 100 birds,” Mitchell said. “What did it cost, $1,000 per bird? One of my assistants called the U.S. Postal Service and they could ship them for $35 per bird. That’s just plain crazy.”

  • SpringTexas

    Welcome home!


    I witnessed this exact Union phenomena after the Hurricane with the City’s Rapid Repairs program. A federally funded program that replaced the heat, hot water and electrical service for the flooded homes. I truly did not want to participate, but it was December, I was out of money and had already burned all of the hair of my arms trying to coax my flooded furnace to life. Since the money was already allocated and I would have been a fool not to accept help I desperately needed, especially watching the local russian oligarchs and multimillionaire medicaid mill runners get freebees….

    When we changed our furnace to natural gas in the early 1990’s from oil, a much more difficult process than swapping out gas equipment, it took a single Master plumber and an assistant 1.5 days, including removing an old 200 gallon oil tank. When the Union did it, it took 4 plumbers the first day, 3 electricians the second day, three inspectors the third day, with quality assurance inspections at least thee more times.

    A furnace and hot water heater installed runs about $6,000 for a home my size, the City spent $60,000 per home.

    Since the money wasn’t coming from the tumble weeds that were left in my bank accounts.. I happily accepted any assistance knowing full well the ripoff it was, but also knowing that someone else would have gotten the “freebees” if I was too proud to take what I really needed.

  • grayjohn


  • grayjohn

    No, sorry, you are a paid operative. I just comment here once in a while. So collect your check and your pat on the ass from your handler.

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