SMBO 2015 – 41

Welcome to the forty-first edition of Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors. We’re so glad that you’re still with us on this journey! It has been a blast stalking Blair and his work. We know everyone is going to get very busy with holidays, fall pageants, hunting season and whatnot, but we hope that you’ll stick with us. We would hate for you to miss out on any of Blair’s stupendous work!CropFlyPheas3047 - Copy

This bird is so colorful, it makes the perfect subject for fall photos. The pheasant, more formally known as the Ring-necked Pheasant, is a popular game bird and can be seen across the U.S. and southern Canada.It’s said they were introduced to the U.S. from Asia in the 1880’s and quickly became one of North America’s most popular upland game bird. The males sport iridescent copper-and-gold plumage, a red face and crisp, white collar. The females are mostly brown, and blend in with their habitat easier.

The most popular habitat for these birds are agricultural land and old fields. These fields will usually be interspersed with grass ditches, hedges, marshland, brushy groves. They can live in an impressive range of habitats from forest, grasslands to deserts. They canRooster0977 - Copy even be found in Hawaii. They do prefer areas with trees, shrubs or that are grassy and weedy, they use this for cover.  Pheasants eat seeds, grain, grasses, leaves, roots, wild fruits, nuts and insects. These birds are foragers. They get most of their food from the ground by foraging, scratching or digging with their bills.

Pheasants practice “herem-defense polygyny” where one male keeps other males away from a small group of females during the breeding season. The males establish breeding territories in early spring. Females assemble in breeding groups focused on a single male and his territory. The male will then court the female with a variety of displays. The male will guard pheasant 1 - Copyhis group of females from the advances of other males by crowing and calling and big displays. Sometimes, competitors resort to physical combat. The female will choose her nest site, usually surrounded by tall vegetation and built on the ground. She will lay 7-15 eggs and can have 1-2 broods per season. Interestingly enough, the chicks will leave the nest immediately after hatching, following the female and feeding for themselves.

Be sure to check out some of the amazing photos of these birds in the Pheasant Photo Gallery!