Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Ring Necked Phesant - An Exotic Bird in Our Midst - thanks Climate Change

 Last week one morning while scanning the view out the kitchen window, I noticed a chicken-like bird with a long tail scurrying across our driveway and into the bushes. None of the wild chicken-like birds seen here so far have a long tail. I have heard the neighbours speaking about pheasants in this area. Only the Common or Ring-necked Pheasant [Phasianus colchicus.] is known in these parts. We were fortunate to have had a light snow fall that morning, so later in the afternoon I went looking for tracks and took this photo which corroborates my visual observation. I consulted a copy of Scats and Tracks of the Northeast ISBN 1-58592-105-X which shows the tracks of the pheasant and the ruffed grouse for comparison. These tracks are definitely smaller than that of the grouse and the toes are noticeable uneven being shorter on the inside than the outside. The most common other bird tracks throughout the woodlot are created by the turkey and the ruffed grouse. The turkey's tracks are obviously much larger. The grouse's tracks are only slightly larger and its toes are more even on either side than these tracks.

According to the half dozen bird books on the shelf, the pheasant here is right on the edge of its habitat. and more common to the south and east.

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