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Tiny Bird Likes Big Space

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Sprague's pippet bird, which weighs less than an ounce, thrives in the open prairies of the Northern Great Plains. The prairies are fast disappearing and the pippet will follow if not given protection, environmental action groups say, in a petition before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the tiny bird under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency agreed to begin a year long status review on the Sprague pippet. The little bird eats insects off the prairie floor after the soil has been disrupted, by bison, fire or mowing, and has regrown. Defenders of the bird say that mowing fields late in the harvest season reduces the time pippets have to mate and brood before their food sources are driven underground by winter.

The USFWS is asking for public input regarding the status of the Sprague's pippet including its range, mating habits, migration patterns and population.

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