its exotic plumage, and long streamer tail, there is no denying
the aesthetic appeal of the Common Pheasant. It is also highly regarded
on the table, so it is no surprise that humans should attempt to
keep them closer to hand.
A native of
Asia, the Common Pheasant was first introduced to British Columbia
in 1882. There have been many introductions in various parts of
the province, with birds coming from England and China.
Many of the introductions have failed, and today viable populations
are found mainly in the Fraser Valley, southeastern Vancouver Island,
the Okanagan Valley, and the Creston and Salmon Arm areas. In some
cases, the populations are augmented on a regular basis.
are sedentary, favouring a variety of open habitats. They do quite
well in agricultural settings, but with development pressure on
these habitats, pheasant populations are declining in many areas.
Surveys continue to be done in the spring in some areas, to count
the numbers of crowing males.
nests on the ground, of grasses, twigs and rootlets. The nests sometimes
have a domed appearance when tucked under vegetation. The female
lays numerous eggs, with clutches of up to 28 eggs being reported;
9 to 12 seems to be about average. The eggs hatch after about 23
days, with the young out of the nest soon after.
In the spring,
the males can be heard giving their kwuk-kwuk calls, as they attempt
to attract as many mates as possible. At these times, the males
are much more daring, as they strut about in their self-importance,
and this is the best time to get a look at these beautiful immigrants.
They may also be seen on the menus of many fine restaurants.