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A study of factors affecting reproduction and survival of the ring-necked pheasant in the lower Fraser River valley of British Columbia Taylor, Ernest William

Abstract

This study of the ring-necked pheasant was made on the agricultural land of the Municipality of Delta in the southwestern portion of British Columbia. It was based primarily on data collected during the months of May to September in the years 1948 and 1949. Additional information obtained in the fall hunting and winter seasons of these years is also considered. An examination of spring breeding behavior and environmental factors affecting the reproduction of the local pheasant population was made. Nest desertion comprised 54.2 and hay field mowing 36.3 per cent, of the total loss of field nests. Known predation losses were low in both years. Over 80 per cent. of the hens observed in August were accompanied by broods indicating some compensation of early nest loss had occurred through renesting. Brood loss was greatest among chicks of from one to three weeks of age. Mowing was the major known cause of juvenile mortality. Farm-reared pheasants were released on the area and factors influencing their survival were noted. Predation contributed greatest to the known mortality of this group. An analysis of hunting success showed the 1949 fall harvest to be much below that of 1948. Midsummer brood loss was believed responsible for this decrease which was also revealed as a decline in the proportion of young wild cocks in the total bag for 1949. The survival of released male pheasants as indicated by hunting recovery was also low in this year dropping from 38.8 per cent. (1948) to 22.2 per cent. (1949). In both years the fall pheasant population density and the number of cocks harvested in terms of acres per bird compared favourably with that found in other investigations. Suggestions for further study and recommendations for management are also submitted.

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