Ring-necked Pheasant

On the drive home Saturday, I had just passed a group of hunters getting ready to go out in a field.  Hunting birds has always been popular in Wisconsin, so I didn’t think I would get any photos without disturbing the hunters. 

About a mile from where I saw the hunters, I spotted a Bald Eagle circling a field.  Bald Eagles prefer fish, but this time of year with the eaglets now hatched, they will bring in anything to feed their young’s growing hunger.  I guess that eagle had been searching for field mice.  When it spotted my car it flew off toward the Wisconsin River and landed in a tree.

When I first spotted the eagle, it had been about thirty feet off the ground and circling, so I slowed way down in case it had spotted some road-kill or was after something close to the road.  When it landed in a tree, I decided to stop the car and try to get some shots.  With the overcast conditions it turned out the bird landed too far away to get a decent shot.  It stayed in that tree for a couple minutes and then flew off toward the Wisconsin River which is about a mile away.

That’s when I heard a cackling sound – similar to a chicken.  The cackling got my attention though I couldn’t see it.  I began scanning the field where the eagle had been circling and eventually I noticed a pair of Ring-necked Pheasants.  Apparently the Bald Eagle had spotted them and had driven them into a clump of trees.  They emerged from the trees and headed back toward what I assumed were their nests.


This male slowly walked over to a nest and sat on it.


That’s when I noticed the second male emerging from the trees.


With the hunters less than a mile away and an eagle having identified their nesting area, these birds have probably become someone’s lunch.

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March 2010

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