Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) Phasianidae

No Data Available
Specimen courtesy of the Slater Museum
Photo by Robert Niese

Pheasants are native to Asia, but they have been introduced by European hunters to nearly every continent as a game bird. Here in North America, they have done particularly well and stable populations can be found throughout the plains and northern states and Canada. In spite of being considered a pest in much of their range, the males have strikingly ornate plumage and they are loved by millions (they even have their own advocacy organization!).

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) Phasianidae

Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor (BLM), MT
April 24, 2015
Robert Niese

It’s that time of year when the forests are rippling with the sounds of Ruffed Grouse displays. Around March and April, these displays are practically non-stop and in a really nice, quiet section of forest you can hear males advertising their territories miles away. Suprisingly, although this was one of the first North American birds to capture the interest of European ornithologists in the 17th century, we still do not know how the Ruffed Grouse produces its prodigious boom performances. Officially, the Birds of North America claims these sounds are “miniature sonic booms” which, if it were true, would quite literally be breaking the laws of physics!