The greater sage grouse works hard for love.
When male birds emerge each spring in clearings called leks, they strut and cluck and puff their strange chests. They flare their tail feathers, do combat with competitors, whatever it takes to win the heart of one of those sweet little hens who seem to be barely paying attention.
When the females finally choose a partner, they briskly get down to business before disappearing again into the mysterious world they came from — the West's vast aesthetic afterthought, the Sagebrush Sea.
The sea and the greater sage grouse weave around peaks and cities, across 165 million arid acres and 11 states from Northern California to North...