Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Minnesota pheasant population surges 33 percent in past year

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said on Tuesday that the state’s pheasant population has increased 33 percent from 2014, despite continued habitat loss blamed for an overall decline, with the 2015 pheasant index 39 percent below the 10-year average and 59 percent below the long-term average.

“Habitat loss still poses serious threats to pheasant populations and other grassland wildlife,” Nicole Davros, a DNR research scientist, said. “The short-term increase is good news that results from a mild winter and relatively favorable weather during the nesting season – conditions that led to increases in the roadside index for many farmland wildlife game species.”

The pheasant populations were monitored through an August roadside survey, which documented 40.7 birds per 100 miles and up to 76 birds per 100 miles in certain areas. The population boost, which was observed everywhere except for the south-central region, is likely due to weather conditions.

“The relatively mild winter and good nesting season conditions have really helped our pheasant population across their range this year,” Davros, who oversaw the survey, said. “It just goes to show you how resilient these birds can be if given the right conditions.”

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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