Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ring-necked Pheasants in South Dakota

An excerpt from Mary Anderson's account of the Ring-necked Pheasant in The Natural Source: an educator’s guide to South Dakota’s natural resources, edited by Dr. Erika Tallman, Director of Environmental Education at Northern State University:
The first successful introduction of the pheasant into the United States occurred in Oregon in 1892. Many attempts were made to introduced the bird into South Dakota, but the first successful introduction occurred in Spink County in 1908. A. E. Cooper and E. L. Ebbert, adjoining farmers south of Doland, released the pheasants into the wild. In 1911, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks released approximately 250 pairs in Spink and Beadle counties. Since that time, the South Dakota pheasant population has fluctuated from a high of 16 million birds to a low of 1.4 million birds. In 1993, the pheasant population was estimated to be around 5 million birds.
South Dakota Pheasant Trivia:

(1) South Dakota honored its most famous avian immigrant in 1943 by proclaiming the Ring-necked Pheasant the State Bird.

(2) Redfield, South Dakota, proclaims itself the "pheasant capital of the world."

(3) Ring-necked Pheasants outnumber humans in South Dakota by nearly 7 to 1.

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