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Use of cover by pheasant broods in east central illinois usa



Use of cover by pheasant broods in east central illinois usa



Journal of Wildlife Management 43(2): 334-346



During summers 1972 and 1973, 8 pheasant (Phasianus Colchicus) hens with broods ranging from 1-12 wk of age were monitored by radiotelemetry for movements and use of cover near Sibley, Illinois, USA in an area intensively farmed for production of corn and soybeans. Activity of all broods focused primarily in oats during day and night. Most young pheasants roosted in oats and hay, and did not become active until after sunrise. The daytime activity in oats and hay suggested that areas of suitable roosting cover also served as primary feeding areas. Use of cover did not appear to change in response to observed changes in wind and temperature. However, broods tended to use corn and soybeans to a greater extent during precipitation. Changes in use of cover by broods over the summer appeared to be more a function of brood age than of crop phenology or harvest. There was an apparent exponential increase in the ranges of broods during the first 9 wk of age. Brood counts for the Sibley area suggested that rates of mortality of pheasant chicks during the first 12 wk of life have increased significantly in recent years. Because of the virtual elimination of small grains, forage grasses and legumes, availability of insects and weedy forbs as food for pheasant chicks may possibly be approaching critical proportions.

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