Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Not-So-Pleasant Pheasant Sighting

The male pheasant is a beautiful and colorful bird, and we often enjoy watching them on the hillside near our house. I've tried without success to get a photo of them, because they are so cautious and scare very easily. So I was quite surprised to look out the window a couple mornings ago and see one in my flower bed!

I have a a bird feeder hanging on a tree branch above this bed and apparently some seed had fallen unto the ground. This rooster and two hens were just a-scratching away there! They did damage to some newly emerging tulip bulbs I planted there last fall. You can see some of the broken foliage in this zoomed shot, just to the right of Mr. Pheasant. (A side note: These particular flower beds are formed with natural basalt rock we have here in GREAT abundance. I guess you could say we are taking advantage of our natural resources.)

Here, Mr. Pheasant has sensed my presence in the window, and is standing at attention, ready to take flight. The females had wisely disappeared by now. I'm glad to have at least gotten a photo of this elusive creature, and I don't think the tulips are so badly damaged as to not bloom, though they may be a little raggedy. In the mean time, I will be moving the bird feeder, to hopefully avoid this happening again. The Ringneck Pheasant is named for the white ring around it's neck, but I confess I may have had some other impulses regarding the term ring neck. (Ha) On a happier note....if you click to enlarge the photo, you can see some soon-to-bloom daffodils, to the left of the fencepost.


A few Pheasant Facts :

* Roosters will range in weight from 3.5 to 4 lbs

* Hens will range in weight from 2 to 2.5 lbs

* A typical rooster accumulates a harem of three to seven hens

* After hatching, pheasant chicks immediately begin growing flight feathers, and are capable of short flights at 2 weeks

* Pheasants do not migrate, they stay relatively local all year long

* On flat ground, a ringneck pheasant can run at speeds of 8-10mph

* Pheasants can fly up to 48mph

* Pheasants main predators include: Fox, Raccoon and Skunk (as chicks) and Man, Fox, Hawks and Owls

* Pheasants eat berries, seeds, young shoots and insects and prefer open country with
brushy cover

* Through most of the growing season, pheasants can survive on the moisture they
consume in insects and the morning dew on vegetation

* During the summer, insects comprise considerably more of the chick's diet and weed seeds
more of the adult's diet

* Pheasants are in the Phasianidae family and are cousins of Quail and Partridge

* The spring ratio of hens to roosters is usually about 3:1

* 30% annual survival rate and only 2-3% of population lives to age 3, whether they're hunted or not

* Pheasants, a native to China, were brought across the Pacific in 1881 by Judge Owen Nickerson Denny in an initial batch of 30 (with 26 surviving the journey)


Mrs. Mac said...

I think the sighting & photographs of this beautiful bird is rewarding enough to put up with a few scratched up daffodils, eh??? :) Thanks for sharing.

Heather said...

He is beautiful if destructive. I always see them on the side of the highway around here. We raised them to let them go for a few years. We wanted to look at them around the place. Fish and game caught on and implored us not to let them go. That was the last year. I didn't want to eat them, just look at them. So on to chickens.

Sue said...

I enjoyed looking at your photos and reading the facts about pheasants. They weigh less than I thought they did.

I had a squirrel digging around in a flower bed under a feeder, so we moved it, like you had to do.

Kim and Victoria said...

Such attractive and stunning birds. Growing up in Nampa I used to see lots of these. Now they seem fairly rare.

Cat said...

Such a beautiful bird, Connie, and great photos! You are so blessed to be seeing some daffodils ready to bloom. I'd be moving the feeder too.

Beth said...

I don't think I've ever seen a pheasant that close and had no idea they were that colorful! The pheasants around don't look like that!

Meems said...

I can appreciate the excitement at getting to photograph the pheasant and the not-so-much excitement at seeing your trampled tulips. It's kind of like the peacocks around here. Beautiful birds but --now that I have your picture please go away!

I enjoyed reading your previous post about tomato selections, too.
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

David said...

What a beautiful bird. Our pheasants look a little different. The pheasants around here look more iridescent and not so colorful, or am I seeing only the females? Still, I love to watch them fly out of the wheat fields when I drive by them.
My seedlings often fall pray to Robbins, Bluejays, and Blackbirds. Robbins are especially vicious with the seedlings.

Doris the Great said...

We have them here in NS as well, but not that I'm in town, I don't see them. Yours is a beauty!

You're spring begins much earlier than ours, so I'm excited to see what you'll be doing. So nice to find your blog; we share many things in common.

Anonymous said...

He is pretty, but I know what a mess they can make, we have flocks of turkeys wandering everywhere here.

You photo is excellent

sweet bay said...

We don't have pheasant here, so it was very nice to see your photos. The males have magnificent coloring.

joey said...

How thrilling ... great captures of the beautiful bird, Connie! I adore pheasant and grew up surrounded by wetlands on Saginaw Bay. The area is a haven for stunning wildlife, pheasant being my favorite to watch (I must admit I also love to prepare them).

Susie said...

What a beautiful bird. I don't think I have ever seen one. Interesting tidbits about them as well.

ChrisND said...

It is interesting that you couldn't get a photo in the field - so they come to you! I wonder what the pheasants do here in the winter? I have never been a hunter, but I guess where my father lives in ND people come from quite a distance just hunt there.

Roses and Lilacs said...

What beautiful photos. We used to have some in the area but I haven't even heard one crowing for over a year. Somebody shot them I suppose. They used to eat seed under my birdfeeders too. One summer the hens brought the half grown chicks to peck around under the feeders.

Kylee said...

This area where I live used to be a huge pheasant hunting area until they pretty much hunted them out. They are still here, however, and we'll see one now and then. I'm always thrilled to see one because they're such gorgeous creatures and a pheasant sighting isn't all that common anymore.

Great shots you got, Connie!

Layanee said...

He is quite a beauty. I would take a few nibbles for the pleasure of seeing this guy.

kate smudges said...

Pheasants are such beautiful birds. Mostly I only hear about them during the hunting season. I didn't realise they'd go after tulips. Have a joyous weekend!

Me said...

cool but frustrating...

Darla said...

Such a colorful bird!

Kim and Victoria said...

I know you have a new post Connie. I wonder why I can't see it yet.
I like the slide show too. When I visit blogs I'm always curious as to where they are and what's around.

texasdaisey said...

You are so blessed to have such a beautiful bird to visit. I just love having wildlife visit. (except when they eat the chickens)

Mrs. Mac said...

Connie ... I'm not able (once again) to open or link to your 'transplants' post ... it wasn't working for me yesterday or today.

Gail said...

What a beautiful bird...I am sorry that they damaged your bulbs, maybe moving the feeders will help keep them from pecking and scratching the ground. gail

MNGarden said...

The pheasant is much more colorful than the wild turkeys we occasionally see. What a treat to see them in the garden.

karen said...

I have had one like this in my front garden for the last week i have been feeding it but today it came 4 inch from hand its very tame. Its all new to me but a lovely bird x I live in Kent