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Ring-necked Pheasants in the Wild

Despite widespread habitat loss, there’s hope!

The Ring-necked Pheasant is likely the best-known bird in North America that isn’t native to the continent. Indigenous to Asia, Ring-necked Pheasants were introduced to Oregon in 1881. The birds thrived in rural landscapes for many years, but modern industrial farming practices have diminished pheasant habitat. In some areas, however, wildlife agencies are working with private landowners to create favorable habitats for pheasants, giving the birds the cover they need for feeding, nesting, and roosting through the seasons.

Support for BirdNote comes from Bloomsbury - a publisher of natural history books and birding guides. “Critical Critters” by Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy is available now.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Ring-necked Pheasants in the Wild

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Ring-necked Pheasant crowing]

The Ring-necked Pheasant is likely the best known bird in North America that isn’t actually native to the continent. Indigenous to east and central Asia, Ring-necked Pheasants were brought in from China in 1881 to foster a viable pheasant population in Oregon. The birds spread throughout the Northwest, and some of them were introduced to the Midwest and other parts of the country. [Ring-necked Pheasant crowing]

Ring-necked Pheasants owe much of their expansion across the continent to their popularity as game birds. Hunters and birders alike admire the cock pheasant’s spectacular, ornate feathering. And for many years, pheasants thrived in the country’s rural landscapes, where small farms offered hay fields and fallow acres, and where hedgerows and stands of trees provided cover for the birds. [Ring-necked Pheasant crowing]

Today, though, industrial farming practices leave less and less for pheasants. Hedgerows are disappearing; weedy cover is burned or sprayed with weed killer; pheasant nests succumb to more frequent hay mowing; and livestock overgraze grasslands.

But there is hope for wild pheasants: in some areas of the country, wildlife agencies are working with private landowners to help create favorable habitats, giving the birds the seasonal cover they need for feeding, nesting, and roosting through the seasons. [Ring-necked Pheasant crowing]

For BirdNote, I'm Mary McCann.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org    October 2014/2017   Narrator: Mary McCann
ID#       RNEP-02-2014-10-10    RNEP-01

http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2723&q=326060
example providing guidelines for landowners to help conserve pheasants
http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Phasianus_colchicus/
useful background link
http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=8444

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