While driving down the drive-way we spotted about 9 male pheasants scratching around one of the pastures. By the time we got home, I grabbed my camera and headed back down the road most of them were gone. The few remaining ones didn’t hang out for very long…
- Pheasants, along with most members of the grouse family, have specialized, powerful breast muscles—the “white meat” that you find on a chicken. These muscles deliver bursts of power that allow the birds to escape trouble in a hurry, flushing nearly vertically into the air and reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.
- While the birds normally don’t cover more than about 600 feet at a time, strong winds can extend their flights considerably. Observers in 1941 reported seeing a pheasant fly a record four miles while crossing a body of water.
- Male Ring-necked Pheasants may harass other ground-nesting birds, such as the Gray Partridge and the Greater Prairie-Chicken. Female pheasants sometimes lay their own eggs in these birds’ nests. This may explain why some male pheasants have been seen chasing away male prairie-chickens and courting females—the pheasants may have been raised in prairie-chicken nests and imprinted on the wrong species.
- Ring-necked Pheasants sometimes cope with extreme cold by simply remaining dormant for days at a time.
- Pheasants practice “harem-defense polygyny” where one male keeps other males away from a small group of females during the breeding season.
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