Every bird lover’s heart beats faster at the sight of a big rooster ring-necked pheasant, strutting proudly along in his feathered finery—a bold red eye patch, iridescent purple-green head, white necklace, multi-colored breast and long tail.
Brought to North America from China in the 1880s, these adaptable gamebirds inhabit country grasslands, but they also make their home in suburban and urban gardens.
Look for hen pheasants, subtly beautiful birds cloaked in mottled feathers of sandy brown, cream and gray.
Listen for the rooster’s loud, raspy kyik-kuk mating call in spring.
Let a few corners of your property go wild. Pheasants need brush and grass for hiding. They come out to feed in open areas on sunny mornings and in late afternoon.
Feed pheasants dried corn spread on the ground. In winter, keep snow off the grain with a simple lean-to built from plywood and boards.
Did you know? Pheasants, while primarily seed eaters, also love fruits and berries? Crabapple, dogwood, viburnum, highbush blueberries, Russian olive, mulberries and raspberries will attract pheasants.