Date of this Version
Reprinted from Transactions of the Thirtieth North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, March 8, 9 and 10, 1965. Published by the Wildlife Management Institute, Wire Building, Washington 5, D. C.
In a five-year study of the ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) in south-central Nebraska, Linder, Lyon and Agee (1960) proposed that "the quality of nesting environment determines the number of nests which will be successful in a given year; this regulates total production which in turn determines the following year's breeding population." These conclusions were based upon the following findings:
1. A close correlation existed between the number of chicks produced and the number of hens the following spring. Because of this relationship it was concluded that mortality through fall, winter and early spring was relatively constant from year to year and adjustment to a higher or lower population level occurred during the nesting season.
2. The study area was in a region of intensive agriculture and nesting occurred in a relatively restricted acreage. Nearly 90 percent of the chicks were produced in two cover types: (1) roadside, in which early production took place and (2) wheat, where most late nesting occurred.
3. A considerable amount of renesting occurred indicating previous failures. As the total number of hens in the spring population increased, the average number of nests established per hen also increased indicating a higher rate of failure. It was suggested that in years of higher populations there was a greater incidence of voluntary abandonments.
4. The number of chicks produced was not a function of the number of hens currently in the breeding population; rather, the nesting environment appeared to govern the number of nests which was successful each year.