ringneck pheasant is not native to Nebraska
or even North America. It was first introduced
from China to the Willamette Valley of Oregon
in 1881. Since that time nearly all states
have attempted to establish ringnecks.
Pheasants are called roosters, cocks or
cockbirds (photo far right Top); females
are hens (photo far right bottom). The baby
birds are called chicks (photo right left).
you live or visit rural Nebraska, you may
hear the crow of the male pheasant or rooster.
It is a loud double squawk followed by quick
muffled wingbeats (you may not hear the
wingbeats if you are far away but you'll
sure hear his crow). Males crow more during
mating season, especially at sunrise and
sunset; they may also make a loud cackle
when flushed into flying. Hens are usually
what a Pheasant Sounds Like)
most wild birds, ringneck pheasants are
very alert - they have terrific hearing
and sight. During hunting season in the late
fall, they are very wary and stick close
to cover (like thick shrubs and weeds) where
they can hide. During
spring and summer, pheasants are less careful
and can be seen strutting across freshly
mowed fields and along roadsides. When chased,
pheasants would rather run than fly. They
quickly run into heavy cover -- brambles,
honeysuckle or multiflora rose. When pheasants
are cornered or surprised, they fly. Pheasants
are strong fliers for short distances reach
45 miles per hour.
the spring breeding season, roosters stake
out individual territories. By putting on
a colorful show, the rooster may collect
a harem of hens who are interested in mating
with the rooster. Breeding begins in late
March or early April and sometimes last
rooster does not help incubate eggs or raise
young. Nesting occurs from April to August.
A hen selects a nest site on the ground
in a hayfield, a weedy field, an overgrown
pasture or a brushy fencerow. A natural
hollow (or one scraped out by the hen) is
lined with weeds, grasses and leaves. The
plants around the nest help hid it and the
hen as she sits on the nest.
hen lays 6-15 eggs (average is 10-12) over
a two-week period. A pheasant egg is about
1 1/3 x 1 2/3 inches. It can be a light
tan to pale olive green color. The hen doesn't
start incubating the eggs until the last
egg is laid. That way, all the eggs will
hatch on the same day. It takes 23-24 days
for the eggs to hatch.
the pheasant chicks hatch, they are able
to run and eat as soon as they are dry.
The chicks depend on the hen to keep them
warm and dry - she does this by sitting
on top of them - this is called "brooding".
The hen broods her chicks during the night.
During the day, the chicks blend in with
the grasses and if they need to, can squat
and not move until the hen gives a signal
to move again. Many animals eat baby birds
like the young pheasants so it is important
that they aren't seen.
hen guides her chicks in food-finding insects,
plentiful and high in protein, are a good
early food. By two weeks of age, chicks
can fly short distances; after six weeks,
their adult feathers starts to come in;
and by autumn, the young birds look like
eat weed seeds, grains, fruits and berries,
shoots, leaves, grasses, and insects. They
find a lot of their food by scratching through