Ring-necked Pheasant

The drive to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge on that gravel road gave me an opportunity for another life bird: Ring-necked Pheasant. The "game" of getting a photograph of one, however, was a little more challenging.

I would drive along the road at a fairly slow speed because I was gawking out the windows looking for birds (luckily there was hardly any other traffic on the road). At one point something caught my eye directly to my left. When I looked over, I immediately recognized the pheasant, and hit the brakes. The pheasant was actually two pheasants (one male and one female) and they wanted nothing to do with me and my car. So as I fumbled about for my camera, they took off running through the field.

When running, they would extend their head forward, which would make them appear lower and longer, and shorter than the vegetation in the field. I could follow their progress through the field, but only because I saw them at the start and followed them with my eyes. Had they already gone into motion before my car got near, I doubt I would have ever seen them. Occasionally one would stop and poke its head up out of the grass, like a periscope on a submarine, to survey the situation.

I saw several more pheasants on this drive. In one case, after I had finished admiring a grebe and resumed the drive, I flushed two males. They immediately fled deeper into the field, gone in a second. It was only then that I realized that, while I was staring at the grebe (with car ignition turned off and windows all down), I was hearing the creaky wheezy song of those two pheasants just a short distance away.

Here are two photos from my first pheasant encounter. The first shows one (the female, I think) as it scoots away in the grass. The second shows the male poking his head up out of the grass in order to assess the situation.

Ring-necked Pheasant

Ring-necked Pheasant

1 comment:

John said...

Congrats on the lifer! I see pheasants only rarely. Usually they are too elusive for me to catch sight of them.