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Illinois spending $1,166 per bird to bring in prairie chickens

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A lesser prairie-chicken is seen in this undated handout photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). (Reuters)

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

I kid you not.

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.

Talk about fowl fiscal deeds.

State pilots have flown between Illinois and Kansas not once, not twice but 14 times this year taking prairie chickens to downstate Jasper and Marion counties.

“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.

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