Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Five Gold Rings

Ring-Necked Pheasants can be the poultry interpretation of the Five Gold Rings in the carol. Although they aren’t native birds, they have adapted well to North America. They flourish in the wild and are probably the most hunted bird today.

I included a chapter in How to Raise Poultry on Gamebirds, because they are the wild relatives of domesticated poultry. Breeders who raise them need information similar to that required for successful poultry husbandry.

Hunters are a powerful and well financed group. To their credit, they realized that conserving habitat is vital to maintaining a healthy population of birds for them to shoot. Pheasants Forever,, has been a leader in protecting and restoring habitat for game birds. As they point out on their site, winter weather can be deadly for many species of farmland wildlife unless there is dense sheltering cover and a reliable food source nearby. The thick cattails of wetlands or stiff-stemmed native grasses such as switch grass are examples of good winter cover. If available, pheasants prefer these herbaceous covers because of the density of vegetation at ground level. However, the dense woody habitat of coniferous farmstead shelterbelts is the key to survival in most severe winters when wetlands are filled with snow and native grasses are flattened by ice. Woody plantings elsewhere on the land are also important, and the rules for shelterbelt establishment apply here as well.One of the up sides to making habitat their focus is that the habitat welcomes many other species and confers many other advantages, including ameliorating greenhouse gases.

Game Bird Gazette,, provides good advice to farmers who raise pheasants. They can be raised for meat or for stocking hunting ranges. A white variety eliminates the issue of dark pinfeathers on meat birds. Pheasant tail feathers are in demand for costumes and other decorations.

Christopher Taylor Nature Photography,, which displays this photo, includes a lot of great information about the birds. I especially enjoyed listening to the recording of the call!

No comments: