Outdoor NebraskaTHE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE NEBRASKA STATE GAME FORESTATION AND PARKS COMMISSION January 1931
Song of WinterThe Frost King sings, when he comes to earth A quieting melody, Like a mother putting her babe to rest, And he croons it tenderly. Beguiling earth into dreams of spring, Of youth that was ever so fair, Till she decks herself in her gayest gown, With scarlet leaves in her hair. And the Frost King smiles; it will not be long- She will lay all these aside— He will shower on her the fairest gowns, Dressing her as a bride.
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAOfficial Bulletin Nebraska Game, Forestation and Parks Commission VOL. VI JANUARY, 1931 NO. 1 CONTENTS Food Habits of the Pheasant in Central Nebraska______________________ 5 Winter Feeding of Birds________________________________________________ 6 Public Fishing Grounds Increased_______________________________________ 7 Editorial_____________________________________________________________ 8 Our New Chief________________________________________________________ 9 Game and Park Activities_____________________________________________I 0
"WILD LIFE conservation is worth $1,000,000,000 a year to this country," according to an oral statement of Sept. 30 by W. L. McAtee, of the Bureau of Biological Survey, Department of Agriculture.
Mr. McAtee, who is in charge of the Bureau's division of food habits research, made this estimate on the basis of the following items:
Meat and fur production, about $150,000,000; destruction of harmful insects by birds, $350,000,000; production of fish, $15,000,000; hunters' expenditures, $160,000,000; hunters' license fees, more than $9,000,000; and a share of general tourist expenditures credited to the drawing power of wild life, $252,000,000.
"At least $1,000,000 was spent by visitors to the national forests and national parks in one typical year," said Mr. McAtee, "and probably one-seventh of all such expenditures may be attributed to the drawing power of the wild life in those areas. All this contributes to the material welfare of the people in sections where the parks and forests are located.
"It all goes to show that it is a wise policy to increase wild life, and so augment our wealth in natural resources. Wild life should be given not only living room but the best available methods of care. Besides helping toward the general aims of the Federal and State wildlife reservations, the layman can assist by protecting birds and their nestings and the small animal life, helping them in Winter feeding and in supplying home sites, and in many other constructive ways.
Photo courtesy Nebraska Farmer January is not supposed to be a good month for the Outdoor Man, yet to those with the eyes to see, there is much beauty to be found.
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAOfficial Bulletin Nebraska Game, Forestation and Parks Commission VOL. VI JANUARY 1931 NO. 1
The Food Habits of the Ring-necked Pheasant in Central NebraskaM. H. SWENK
(Editor's Note: Here is the report of the Pheasant Survey carried on during 1929 by Mr. M. H. Swenk of the Nebraska State Agricultural College. Because of the interest taken in the subject by our readers and its scientific value, the report in part is being published in Outdoor Nebraska. A limited number of phamplets containing the report in full are available for free distribution.)
The common or Caucasian pheasant (Phasianus colchicus subspp.) in its various races is probably the most cosmopolitan of all wild gallinaceous birds, for not only does it enjoy a wide native range in southeastern Europe and Asia, extending from the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea east to the Japan Sea and the Yellow Sea and from the Tropic of Cancer to the forty-eighth parallel in Manchuria, but also, because of its high value as a game bird, it has been introduced into many other parts of the world. Hardy, aggressive, aniwary in nature, these birds have shown great adaptability, and usually succeed in permanently establishing themselves when they are introduced into a new region. Pheasants were known and esteemed by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who probably introduced them into their homelands. The latter people probably are responsible for the early importation of the pure, typical race of the species into France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Germany. Later (about 1173) these birds were successfully introduced into Sweden. They have also become established in the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, and elsewhere.
Of the 23 subspecies of the common pheasant recognized by Beebe, only the Chinese pheasant (Phasianus colchicus torquatus Gmelin), which in pure strain occurs in Manchuria, Korea, and eastern China, and the dark-necked, so-called English pheasant (Phasianus colchicus colchicus L.), have been introduced into this country in any numbers. The latter probably was introduced in pure strain into England by the Romans and later spread over the whole of Great Britain, almost completely hybridizing in the eighteenth century and afterward in England with the subsequently introduced Chinese pheasant to produce the form now commonly known as the ring-necked pheasant.Pheasant Introductions Into America
The Chinese pheasant was first successfully introduced in pure strain into eastern Oregon by O. N. Denny in 1880 and 1881. The English pheasant in nearly pure strain was successfully introduced a few years later (1887) into New Jersey. In later years to some extent these pure strains, from China and England, but far more commonly their hybrid, the ring-necked pheasant, from England, were imported into many states, becoming successfully established in a large number of them, including Nebraska. The species has seemed especially to prosper in the upper Mississippi and Missouri River Valley regions. The accompanying map shows the American range of these birds in 1929, according to McAtee.
The names Chinese, English, and ring-necked pheasant, as well as the adjectives "Oriental", "China", "Mongolian", "Oregon", "Denny", etc., have largely been used in such a loose and meaningless way in sports literature that the term ring-necked pheasant is coming to be used for any and all of these birds found in the United States, and is so employed in this bulletin.Pheasant Introductions Into Nebraska and Other Missouri Valley States
The first importations of pheasants into the Missouri River Valley region were private efforts. State introductions followed. The first extensive private importations into Colorado took place in 1889 and 1891 and the State took up the effort in 1901. Following their introduction into northern Colorado in about 1908, by 1921 pheasants were abundant in eastern Colorado from the vicinity of Denver north to the Wyoming line, east of the mountains. In Kansas more than 3,000 pheasants were liberated from 1906 to 1909 The first occurrences of pheasants in Nebraska were in 1900 to 1904, when individual birds were reported to have been shot at various points along the Kansas line in southeastern Nebraska—Table Rock, Pawnee, Barneston, etc.—these probably having been northward stragglers from some of the early private Kansas importations. Importations into South Dakota began privately about 1910, were soon taken up by the State, and the birds increased with such tremendous rapidity that by 1926 about a million pheasants were(Continued on Page 13)
Winter Feeding of Birds
Editor's Note: The following information and diagrams of winter feeding of birds is furnished thru the courtesy of the Missouri Fish and Game Department.
THROUGHOUT severest winter seasons sportsmen, Boy Scouts, farmers and all Nature lovers can be of great aid in the feeding of game and wild birds. Each year reveals an increased int e r e s t in this commendable work but helpers in all sections must be enlisted in the conservat ion program i f the game and wild birds are to come thru the winters in such physical condition as to allow satisfactory natural propagation during nesting seasons.
Many fine game and other birds will die during winters unless they are provided with feed. And every bird that dies during the winter means several less birds to see and hunt and help the farmer the following summer and fall. Hunters need not expect to find quail in their c o mmunities during the fall season if the brood stock starves during the winter.
The best feeding process in most all parts of the country is the use of shocked corn remaining in the field. Shocks can be opened up one by one as necessary. providing a practical self feeder. (Figure A.)
Grain is most beneficial if placed in pits shoveled down to earth or placed on hardbeaten roads not used by motor cars, or along well packed railroad rights-ofway where trains are few, beneath grapevine shelters, brush leantos (Figures B and C), and in sheds not used by poultry.
The feeding of shelled grain in loose snow is not advised as it rapidly sinks out of sight and becomes unavailable to the birds. A pit should alw a y s be scooped, shoveled or kicked out to the gr o u n d exc e p t where there is a heavy ice crust. Shocked corn, mill scree n i n g s, haymow chaff, and dry table scraps that are non-freezi n g provide e x c e 1 le n t feed.
It is best to locate where the birds have been frequenting and place the feed there. Game birds should not be fed among domest i c poultry as they are easy victims of poultry diseases. Feed the birds in the yard if they come there but keep them away from ground c o ntaminated by chickens.
Feed should be placed in the shelters regularly that the birds will make it a habit to frequent the feeding(Continued on Page 11)
Public Fishing Grounds Increased During Year
NATURE has given the State of Nebraska the longest I mileage of flowing streams and rivers of any State in the Union, and in western Nebraska, there are numerous sand hill lakes and several large irrigation reservers, all well supplied with fish. However, so far as Central and Eastern Nebraska are concerned there are almost no natural lakes and many of our fishermen like the kind of angling found only in a lake district. The State Game, Forestation and Parks Commission has been fortunate in securing an abandoned ice pond of considerable size, several worked-out gravel pits located along the Platte River and abundantly supplied with fresh water, and a few cut-off lakes along the Missouri River, all for public use. These lakes are proving very popular with our fisherman, and some also provide ideal picnic and outdoor recreational grounds for the balance of the family.
In addition to these man - made lakes, which have been secured ready to stock with fish, there are locations where desirable lakes can be constructed. Where the physical conditions are favorable for such construction, land has been purchased and Nebraska will soon have a number of artificial lakes open to fisherman,
A great many people in the State have written the Commission requesting that an investigation and survey be made of a site they think favorable for lake construction. Upon investigation many of these proposed sites have been found lacking in the essentials required. The paramount requirement is water supply, unfailing, even in dryest seasons, and not only must the quantity be sufficient and the quality excellent, but the elevation of the source must be such that the water will flow by gravity into a basin, either natural or formed by dyking. Spring water is the most desirable and water diverted from a small clear stream is second best. Drainage water is undesirable and must be kept from flowing into the basin. Large quantities of drainage water require expensive spillways and practically all drainage water carries silt, This silt is deposited in the still water of the lake and rapidly lessens its water capacity.
It is advisable to place the minimum flow of the water supply at 100 gallons per minute for a lake of 15 to 20 acres in area to take care of evaporation only. The minimum sized lake which it will pay the State to develop, stock and care for is probably 15 acres and lakes 25 to 35 acres in area are more valuable. Desirable basins must be free from ordinary alkalies or other harmful chemicals, and to be available at reasonable cost, should be marshy or otherwise unsuited for the higher types of agricultural uses. Basins of 30 to 35 acres with a flat bottom and rapidly sloping sides are ideal. By darning the outlet and raising the water level 6 to 8 feet a lake is obtained with a low percentage of shallow water and at reasonable cost.
Flats of uniform slope toward the outlet may be developed into a suitable lake if the rate of slope is not too steep, and the flat is of considerable width. To obtain a 30 acre lake, a quarter of a mile in length, the average width must be 1000 feet. If the flat slopes less than 8 or 9 feet in the quarter mile the dam necessary to form the lake can be 12 feet or less in height and the lake will have a desirable maximum depth. If the slope is greater a higher dam is required. Dams over 12 feet in height require specially constructed core walls in most instances, and the construction cost becomes excessive. Rapidly sloping, narrow valleys have little value for lake purposes.
The soil condition at the proposed lake site must be investigated. If it carries a large percentage of sand, seepage of the lake water is excessive, requiring a much larger water supply than stated above. Dams of sandy soil are difficult to make water tight and erode easily. However, if the water supply is sufficient to care for seepage and evaporation, and a dam can be established,
The above map shows the location of property now controlled by the Game, Forestation and Parks Commission. This includes all property such as Fish Hatcheries, State Parks, etc.1. Arbor Lodge State Park. 2. Chadron State Park. 3. Victoria Springs State Park. 4. Stolley State Park. 5. Goose Lake Recreation Grounds. 6. Rat and Beaver Lake Recreation Grounds, 7. Walgreen Lake Recreation Grounds, 8. Gretna State Fish Hatcheries and Recreation Grounds, 9. Valentine State Fish Hatchery, Benkelman State Fish Hatchery. 11. Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery. 12. Dodge County Sandpits Recreation Grounds. 10 16 19 13. Cass County Sandpits Recreation Grounds. 14. 14. Niobrara Island Game Reserve. 15. Memphis Lake Recreation Grounds. Blue River Recreation Grounds. Rowell Lake Recreation Grounds. Long Lake Recreation Grounds. Cottonwood Lake Recreation Grounds. 20. Cottonmill Lake Recreation Grounds. 21. Fort Kearny State Park, 22. Pressey Recreation Grounds. 23. Wild Cat Hills Game Reserve. 24. Pibel Lake Recreation Grounds. 25. Willow Lake Recreation Grounds. 26. Massacre Canyon Monument. 27. Ballard's Marsh Shooting Grounds. 28. Oxford Lake Recreation Grounds. 29. Champion Lake Recreation Grounds. W. Litchfield Lake Recreation Grounds. 31. Loup River Lake Recreation Grounds. 32. Alexandria Lake Recreation Grounds. 33. Lincoln County Recreation Grounds. 34. Haney Lake Recreation Grounds. 35. Arnold Lake Recreation Grounds.
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAPublished by Game, Forestation & Parks Commission Editorial Office, State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska FRANK B. O'CONNELL..........................................Editor COMMISSIONERS: Charles W. Bryan, Lincoln, Chairman "Webb Rice, Norfolk, Vice Chairman George B. Hastings, Grant F. A. Baldwin, Ainsworth E. R. Purcell, Broken Bow Guy Spencer, Omaha Frank B. O'Connell, Lincoln, Secretary Vol. VI January, 1931 No. I
Nebraska, like the rest of the country, has been somewhat affected by the depression of business throughout the country. For that reason the year of 1930 was not looked upon as a very good one for business.
However, this did not hold true with the sportsmen of Nebraska. They spent considerably more for hunting and fishing permits than ever before in the history of the state. The business of 1930 will probably show a gain of twenty per cent over that of 192 9.
The reason for this gain is obvious. When business is tough and a hard grind, we like to get away from it for a week or so, or if we are tied down, for the weekend. And what is there better for the tired business man or farmer to do than to load the family in the old bus and go fishing or hunting? It costs far less than most other forms of recreation, and the value derived from it is far greater than most diversions. When we return from a trip into the great outdoors we are better able to go back to the old job of making a living."PAY AS TOTJ GO"
Nebraska is noted for her pay-as-you-go policy in building roads, state capitols and other public enterprises.
The Nebraska Game, Forestation and Parks Commission is following the same policy and paying its bills as it goes along.
During the twenty months that the Commission has been in charge of our outdoors, great strides forward have been taken. Attention is invited to other articles in this magazine which show the large number of public fishing grounds acquired, and the many other activities carried on by the commission.
But in spite of this vast program, all bills are being paid from funds on hand. At the end of the present biennium (June 30, 1931) all bills will have been paid and there will be something like $100,000.00 in the treasury to carry over for work during the coming two years.
WThen it is remembered that the Commission does not spend a cent of general property tax money but carries on all its work, including the maintenance of the state parks, from the permits sold to hunters and fishermen and trappers, it is believed that this record will receive the commendation of all forward-looking citizens of our great state.FINANCE
The following report shows the expenditures of the Game, Forestation and Parks Commission for the twenty months it has been in existence:Expenditures (From May 9, 1929 to December 31, 1929) Administration ............................................$ 16,030.2 ( Law Enforcement ........................................ 29,110.64 Fish Distribution .......................................... 34,597.56 Conservation and Field ................................ 15,534.27 Purchase Game, Fish etc............................. 6,397.15 Forestation work .......................................... 52,80 Educational Work ........................................ 1,985.82 Scientific investigation ................................ 167.97 Fishing and Recreation Waters ............-....... 3,340.79 Operation and improvement fish hatcheries ................................................ 33,889.50 Maintenance state parks ................................ 7,899.62 Total........................................$149,006.32
Note:—Of the above expenditures, $31,704.12 was spent for permanent improvements and $16,999.10 for equipment. Educational work consists of publishing "Outdoor Nebraska", motion picture films, booklets, etc.(January 1, 1930 to December 31, 1930) Administration ............................................$ 19,810.70 Law Enforcement ........................................ 48,963.83 Fish Distribution ........................................ 23,174.77 Conservation and field activities ................ 22,270.17 Purchase game birds, fish, eggs etc............. 35,450.05 Forestation (on state owned lakes, etc) .... 9,824.67 Educational work .......................................... 3,919.23 Scientific investigation................................ 854.92 Purchase and improving fishing and recreation lakes ........................................ 77,031.23 Operation and improving fish hatcheries .. 46,940.00 Maintenance and improvement state parks.. 18,858.15 Total..........................................$307,097.72 Encumbered .............................. 58,739.00
Note: Of the above expenditures the sum of $49,243.60 was spent for the purchase of land, $44,243.50 for permanent improvement and $20,434.21 for equipment. General operation expense was $192,612.72.
Hon. Charles W. Bryan, Governor of Nebraska, became Chairman of the Game, Forestation & Parks Commission January 8, 1931. Mr. Bryan is well known among sportsmen for his love of the outdoors and his great pleasure in going into the field with the gun.
Game and Park Activities
"What is the Game Forestation and Parks Conmission doing?"
That is a question frequently asked by interested citizens. In order to give the public an idea of the present work that is being done, we are setting forth the different activities carried on during 1930. The work of the Commission during 1930 was divided into eleven different departments. These departments are Administration, Law Enforcement, Fish Distribution, Conservation and Field Activities, Propagation, Forestation, Educational Work, Scientific Investigation, Recreation Grounds, Fish Hatcheries and State Parks. Let us consider each in turn.Administration
In this department is all administrative matters. It covers the work of the office at Lincoln, printing, distribution and collecting of permits and fees, mailing, etc. In 1930 over 300,000 various permits were printed and issued. It covers the per diem and travel expense of the Game Commissioners and the Chief Game Warden, the salary of office employees, administrative supplies and the mapping of the state. About $1,500 was spent during 1930 in a big, five-year program of mapping each county so as to show all recreational spots, water, springs, lakes etc. The total expenditure for the above activities during the year were $19,810.70.Law Enforcement
This is the biggest department working under the commission. It covers the salaries and travel expense of some sixteen regular wardens and some thirty extra wardens who worked during the pheasant open season and on other special occasions. It covers the cost of automobiles and other equipment used by wardens. The work in this department includes all law enforcement, checking of permits, investigation of complaints, etc. The total expenditures for the year were $48,963.83.Fish Distribution
This department covers the work of operating the state fish car and a fleet of five trucks in hauling fish from one hatchery to another or bringing fish from lakes to smaller ponds, stocking of fish etc. Since millions of fish are now handled each year, it will readily be seen that the transportation of same involves considerable work and expense. The total expenditure of this department was $23,174.77.Conservation and Field Activities
This department covers all field activities such as seining coarse fish from lakes and ponds, salvaging fish from dried-up lakes and ponds and transferring them to deeper water, supervision and construction of fish nurseries, and general field activities. Part of the expense of operating this department is offset by the sale of coarse fish. The total expenses for this work during the year were $22,270.17.Propagation
Under this head is included the purchase of game birds, fish raised by private hatcheries, fish eggs, bird eggs and the transportation and feeding of propagation stock. During 1930 a large number of partridges and quail were purchased, as well as a few wild turkey. Over a quarter of a million game fish were purchased at a cost considerably less than the state has ever been able to raise them for at its own institutions. The total expenditure for propagation was $35,450.05.Forestation
The Commission feels that its lakes and fishing grounds will be greatly improved by having shade. Therefore an extensive forestation program was carried on. An experienced forester and a crew not only plant the trees but care for them during the summer months and keep them growing. It has been found that it is poor business to plant trees in the Nebraska Sand-Hill country and then forget them. Constant care must be given to get results. The thousands of trees planted were all on land owned by the commission. The expenditure for this work was $9,824.67.Educational Work
Education plays a great part in securing law observance and is a much more satisfactory way of bringing about good results than to depend entirely on wardens to make arrests. In order to acquaint the people of Nebraska with the work of the Commission, the splendid resources of the state and the need for conservation, a quarterly magazine known as "Outdoor Nebraska" has been published and motion pictures of Nebraska's outdoors shown to school children and various organizations throughout the state. The benefits from this work are already bearing fruit. The cost of this work during 1930 was $3,919.23.Scientific Investigation
Science is beginning to play an important part in game and fish propagation. Nebraska, like most other states, has woefully neglected such work. The Commission made a beginning during 1930 by having several trained investigators study the animal and plant life of a number of Sand-Hill lakes as well as brood ponds in several of the state fisheries. The results of this work are being compiled and will be published in 1931. The cost of this work was $854.92.Fishing Lakes and Recreation Grounds
One of the great problems facing the Nebraska Commission is how to take care of the thousands of citizens who pay their dollar each year for an opportunity to fish. Unfortunately many choice fishing lakes and ponds are in the hands of clubs or private parties. It was telt that the policy of securing fishing water for the puolic was a wise one and surplus funds carried over from former administrations were spent in buying such places which will forever remain open free of charge to the boys and girls of Nebraska. Great care has been taken to buy such waters at a reasonable price. The Commission aims to develop such places for fishing purposes but not to operate resorts, hotels etc., which would require caretakers and make a high maintenance cost. No caretakers are contemplated. It is simply desired to get lakes and ponds now in existence and to create new ones so that our citizens can use them at will without paying fees to private parties. The total OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 11 expenditures for buying and developing these tracts was $107,982.60. Of this amount $58,739.00 remains unpaid because of the delay in getting deeds and abstracts necessary for the transfer of such property. However, these funds have been encumbered and are ready to pay out as soon as the papers are ready.State Fish Hatcheries
Four State Hatcheries are operated by the Commission. One of these hatcheries is very small in capacity and a second one is partially used for recreation rather than fish production. Both of the two larger hatcheries have been improved and enlarged. A sub-station has been purchased and developed at the Valentine Hatchery which will greatly increase production there. A modern fish hatch-house was built at the Rock Creek plant, as well as a number of other minor improvements. The total expenditure during the year for the operation and enlargement of the hatcheries, including the purchasing and development of the sub-station at Valentine was $46,940.00.State Parks
There are four state parks under the jurisdiction oi the Commission. These are maintained from the game funds, but the law limits the annual expenditure for same to not more than 10% of the game funds. The mansion at Arbor Lodge was painted, cabins and minor improvements made at Stolley, Victoria Springs and Chadron. The total cost of this improvement and operation for the year was $18,858.15.General Summary
In analyzing the expenditures for the year, it will be seen that land purchased was $107,982.60. Permanent improvements were $44,807.27 and equipment purchased was $20,434.21. The general operating expense of administration, law enforcement, fish distribution, conservation and field activities, propagation, forestation educational work, fish hatcheries and parks was $192,097.72. If the game birds and fish purchased, which are of more-or-less permanent value to the state, is deducted, the general operation costs were around $157,000. In view of the fact that the Commission's income is now well in excess of $200,000 a year, it will be seen that while much expansion and development was done, yet the activities were operated on a sound pay-as-you-go business basis.
PUBLIC FISHING GROUNDS INCREASED DURING YEAR(Continued from Page 7)
the resulting lake is more valuable because of its sandy bottom. Clay and gumbo soils are ideal materials for dam construction and soon seal against seepage. Lakes in such soil require only slightly more water than needed to maintain the desired level against evaporation.
The location of the proposed lake should be near an all-weather road but not immediately adjacent to a large town or city. Well developed groves, of long life tree specie, add to the attractiveness of the site. Such trees offer shade for picnickers, assist in keeping the water temperature low and promote growth of vegetation valuable for fish food.
WINTER FEEDING OF BIRDS(Continued from Page 6)
places. Quail feeding stations should be close together as the birds do not range far. There should be one feeding station on each forty-acre tract. Feeding shelters should not be located in such a manner as to be traps in which the birds would be caught by predatory animals. (Figure D.) An old barrel with both heads knocked out, suspended from a tree and partially filled with some unthreshed wheat or other grain will provide this vermin-proof feeding station.
Prairie chickens range from one to five miles and in counties where this bird is found, feeding stations should be provided. Corn is suitable feed for these birds. Corn is also suitable for the wild turkey in sections where the mast crop is light.
A very satisfactory feeding device can be made by use of cloth or paper sacks, filled with grain and suspended from a tree limb, fence rail or brush pile. (Figure E.) A small hole must be made in one corner of the sack so that the grain can trickle to the ground or can be picked out by the birds. This feeder can be easily made by the sportsman before going into the field, only a few minutes' work being necessary to put the feeder in operation.
Pheasants will travel far if good feed conditions do not prevail. Unless they have ample feed they will leave the sections in which they have been liberated. If the sportsmen in sections where this bird has been liberated would have the birds remain in their community they had better provide feed. Otherwise some more enterprising community will benefit by the move. Corn and other grain provide the necessary feed for pheasants.
Where cattle or deer are likely to eat up the grain placed out for game birds, the hopper type of shelter serves best to save the grain for the feathered gamesters. (Figure F.) Such feeding shelters can be built with little expense and effort but can be used from season to season.
Game is not frightened when it approaches this type of shelter and feeder. Vermin has little opportunity to catch game while it is feeding and snows do not cover up the feed. This type of feeder will accommodate any kind of feed necessary for small game and birds in nearly any locality. The flow of the grain can be regulated by the space between the hopper and ground. It is well to place supports at each side of the feeding hopper so that when heavy snows come the flow of grain will not be shut off.
Grit should be provided in cases where the birds are unable to procure this necessary material. Without grit, birds will die with their craws filled.
The city dweller can help with the bird feeding, as many of the insectivorous birds are to be found within the city limits. Sumac and weed seeds are relished by the cardinals, slate-colored juncos, tree sparrows, and the red-poll linnets. Hairy, downy and the redheaded woodpeckers prefer nut meats. The white-bellied nuthatch, tufted titmouse and black-capped chickadees like to eat from feeding trays. Cracked corn, barley and wheat provide excellent feed. The horned larks, lapland longspurs, snow buntings, goldfinches, purple finches and the redpoll linnets like seed of most any kind. The cardinal is partial to whole corn as he cracks it himself and extracts the heart.
The cock Hungarian partridge is one hubby who will fight his wife for the honor of being nurse-maid to his children. The mothering instinct is so highly developed in the male of this game bird, which is being imported to this country in thousands by many state conservation departments, that mating "Huns" often have hectic connubial days ending in tragedy or divorce, with the cock strutting proudly away with the offspring.
This marital secret of the partridge family is a big reason the bird is increasing in America, declared Llewellyn Legge, Chief Game Protector of the New York Conservation Commission, before the Seventeenth American Game Conference at Hotel Pennsylvania on Dec. 1 and 2. It enables the young birds to survive even if the mother meets with some accident, and also causes the female to bring forth two broods in a season, in a vain attempt to rear more loyal youngsters.
But the lady has her day prior to matrimonial disillusionment, acocrding to Mr. Legge's observations. Unlike the female of some species, she makes no coy effort to conceal the fact that she is the chooser, but selects the lover she prefers whether he likes it or not. And game farm keepers have found that if they try to sell her on the idea of a mate not to her liking, that unlucky swain is fortunate to escape with his neck.
After the birds have mated in the spring, however, and the female has laid her nest of approximately 2 3 eggs—an accomplishment at which even this motherly male can boast no special ability, the cock insists on incubating the eggs. Should the mother bird leave her nest, he takes possession, and it is often quite a task for the female to drive him off again.
As soon as the young hatch out, Mr. Legge related the cock commences calling in his most coaxing manner, and soon all the chicks have deserted their mother to nestle under his wing.
This often brings warm family dissension, Mr. Legge averred, but usually ends with the mother contenting herself with a second brood.OWL OBSERVATIONS
There seems to be a false impression existing in Nebraska as well as in other states as to the depredations committed by owls and as a result they are considered as undesirable and are made targets for the first hunter that gets within shooting distance of them.
It is not unusual on a trip through the country to see the dead body of an owl hanging on the fence or lying along the road, that has been shot by some uninformed sportsman, thinking he had done humanity a benefit by killing the bird.
The owl family consists of about 315 species and subspecies distributed over all parts of the world, according to Elon Howard Eaton in his Birds of New York, 80 of which belong to the screech owl genus.
Of the 315 different species twelve of these are found in Nebraska at some period of the year and while some of these remain here through the year others migrate to the northland in the spring and will be found northward to the limit of trees.
Owls found in Nebraska are namely; the barn or monkey owl, the long eared owl, the short eared or marsh owl, the screech owl the barred owl, the great gray owl, the hawk owl, the Richardson owl, the saw whet owl, the burrowing owl, the sihowy owl and the horned owl.
Of these owls only the last two are really destructive to game birds and domestic fowl to any great extent and as the snowy owl is found here only on rare occasions they are not a serious menace to our game birds.
The barn owl, the long eared owl, the short eared owl and the saw-whet owl rank highest in their service to agriculture as from 60 to 9 0 per cent of their food consists of mice and insects that are injurious to farm crops.
The short eared or marsh owl is one of our common species and many are killed by thoughtless hunters as they will be seen frequently in broad daylight on trees or fence post or hovering over a field looking for mice, which makes up about 80 per cent of their food.
Let us protect and not destroy birds that are useful to mankind and always remember that a life once taken cannot be restored.WM. LYTLE. NEBRASKA GETS BIG RESERVE
The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, of which Secretary Hyde of the Department of Agriculture is chairman, recently authorized purchases of lands by the Biological Survey for migratory game-bird refuges in Florida, California, North Carolina, and Nebraska, aggregating 73,780 acres. The cost to the Government will average $5.28 an acre.
The four proposed refuges had been surveyed previously by biologists and land valuation experts of the Biological Survey, and the Department of Agriculture had approved their acquisition as units in the nationwide system of refuges authorized by Congress.
The new Florida refuge will extend about 12 miles along Apalachee Bay, in Wukulla, Jefferson, and Taylor Counties, and will be known as the St. Marks Migratory Bird Refuge. It will contain 13,981 acres.
The new purchases in California will add 8,982 acres to the Salton Sea Wild Life Refuge, created by Executive order of November 25, 1930. The purchase authorized, together with the public lands recently set aside by the President, will create a refuge of more than 24,715 acres for waterfowl and other migrants in the Imperial Valley.
The Swanquarter Migratory Bird Refuge will be established in North Carolina under the new authorization. This will consist of 11,778 acres in Hyde County, on Pamlico Sound, and together with intermingled areas of water will make an administrative unit of about 20,000 acres.
In the sandhills of western Nebraska the purchase of 39,038 acres is authorized for the establishment of a OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 13 migratory bird refuge in an area resorted to by great number of waterfowl in the nesting season. This is in Garden County and will be known as the Crescent Lake
Migratory Bird Refuge. The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which was created by the act providing for a ten-year program of refuge acquisition consists of Secretary Hyde of the Department of Agriculture; Secretary Lamont of the Department of Commerce; Secretary Wilbur of the Department of the Interior; Senator Norbeck, of South Dakota; Senator Hawes, of Missouri; Representative Ackerman, of New Jersey; and Representative McReynolds, of Tennessee. Rudolph Dieffenbach, in charge of land acquisitions of the Bureau of Biological Survey, is secretary of the Commission.
The new purchases authorized, together with those previously approved by the Commission, and those established by Executive orders since the inception on July 1, 1929, of work under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, make a total of 158,167 acres that will become inviolate sanctuaries for the conservation of migratory birds.
The ultimate objective is the establishment of one or more such refuges in each State in the Union. The Act authorizes annual appropriations for ten years for the purpose of carrying out this objective.
THE FOOD HABITS OF THE RING-NECKED PHEASANT IN CENTRAL NEBRASKA(Continued from Page 5)
shot during the open season. This increased to about twice that number during the open season in 1927.
According to information kindly supplied by Mr. Frank B. O'Connell, the State of Nebraska began stocking with pheasants about 1915, at which time several dozen birds were brought in. During the next ten years small shipments were purchased by the State each fall. These were supplemented in central Nebraska by private purchases of pheasants from game farms by individuals, who bred more pheasants from them. No very large number of pheasants were ever brought into Nebraska, probably not over 500 pairs altogether. Our present pheasant population has been bred within the State from this relatively small number of originally imported birds. In the spring of 1926 and of 1927 there were considerable trapping and transferring of pheasants from the more densely populated districts, in Sherman and Howard counties, to counties in eastern and southern Nebraska where pheasants were few or absent. In 1926, about 10,000 adult birds were thus captured and transferred; while about 30,000 adult birds were transferred in 1927. Practically every southern and eastern county in Nebraska received pheasants in these transfers. It is estimated that the pheasant population of the whole of Nebraska now (1930) totals over a million birds.Open Seasons on Pheasants in Nebraska
Pheasants were accorded complete year-round protection in Nebraska until 192 7. On account of the increased pheasant population in east-central Nebraska, in the spring of that year the Nebraska Legislature authorized the Department of Agriculture to rule an open season on male pheasants in any county where such action was applied for by its county board. In 192 9 this authority to open the season on pheasants was transferred by legislative act to the Game, Forestation, and Parks Commission, and the open season was restricted to a period of 15 days or less between September 11 and December 31. The Commission was also authorzied to grant permission to individual farmers to destroy the pheasants on land owned or ocupied by them when the birds were found to be destroying or damaging the crops. In 1927 the open season was only three days; in 192 8 and 1929 it was ten days. In 192 8 the counties with an open season were Garfield, Valley, Sherman, Buffalo, Hall, Howard, Merrick, Greeiey, and Wheeler. In 192 9 pheasant-shooting was permitted in Garfield, Valley, Sherman, Buffalo, Boone, Nance, Garden, and Morrill counties. The dates in 1927 were October 6 to 8, inclusive, and in both 1928 and 1929 were October 22 to 31, inclusive. About 25,000 birds were killed in 1928 and about 50,000 in 1929.General Life History and Habits of the Pheasant in Nebraska
During the winter pheasants go about in flocks, these sometimes containing from 20 to 50 birds, the two sexes tending in the early winter to segregate into separate groups. As spring comes on (in March) the males begin to give their bantam-like crow, and later to flap their wings, and the larger flocks of males begin to break up into small ones. qock fights become common. In April the males are seen traveling singly or with one hen, or sometimes with several hens. The males are more or less polygamous. Nesting begins in April, and complete sets of eggs are common before the end of that month. Nests are common thru May also. A setting contains from 7 to 17 eggs, usually 12 to 15, unless two hens lay in the same nest, when there may be more. The nests are placed on the ground in moist, sheltered situatiqns in weed patches, hay meadows, alfalfa and sweet clover fields, grain fields, and similar locations. They are made in little hollows scratched in the soil, and are composed of grass and leaves. Ordinarily nesting takes place on low ground, but in case of heavy rains in April and May the birds are driven to higher ground for a later nesting. This was true in Valley county in 1929, when the spring hatch was reduced by the wet weather. The eggs are ovate, rounded at the smaller end, and plain buff or greenish buff in color, without markings. They are about 1 1-3 by 1 3-4 inches in size. Incubation begins when the setting is complete, and is as a rule performed entirely by the hen pheasant. The normal incubation period is 2 3 days, but it may be lengthened if the eggs get chilled.
The young are brooded by the mother for a day or somewhat less, soon after which she leads them away in search of food. Usually the mother alone cares for the young until they are 6 or 7 weeks old, after which the male may take charge of them while the female starts a second nesting. The sexes become distinguishable about the time the chicks are 5 or 6 weeks old, the males showing some bare skin on the side of the face 14 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA and certain plumage color differences. The birds stay chieiiy in the cover of the corn fields, hay meadows, and weed patches, very few venturing out in the stubble helas. The approaching end of the nesting season, in August, finds the old birds abandoning their young, going about singly, and becoming much more wary and alert for danger, and hard to see. Flocks of young pheasants are frequently seen in the weed patcnes, roadsides, and corn fields. In September and October tney ail frequent the weed patches and brush, within feeding range of the corn fields, which continue to be the center of their interest thru the fall and winter.
While the pheasants will live and breed in a great variety of situations, they are by nature a cover-in-habicing bird. They like brushy thickets, dense weed patches, hay meadows, or corn or other fields bearing a heavy cover that will provide for their concealment, in the vicinity of open fields lor foraging during the reeding periods. Tne females especially seek cover. Tney are not woodland birds. Pheasants require plenty of water, and are usually found not very far away from a supply of it. They feed most actively twice a day, during the early hours of the morning shortly after sunrise and during the last few hours before dark. At midday their crops are usually empty or nearly so. During the nesting season the birds, and especially the females, apparently feed quite locally. At other times they forage widely for their food. This is especially true during the winter, when they may shift about in relation to food supply, being at times scarce or absent over considerable areas but present in large numbers at other places. Some unshucked corn fields, or fields where corn is being hogged down and waste grain is plentiful, may attract them in abundance. They also may come into the farmer's barnyard and associate with his chickens. They usually roost at night on the ground, preferring a sloping place sheltered from the wind that offers a quick flight to thickets lower down.
It seems that wherever in the United States the pheasant has been introduced and has thrived, as soon as it has become abundant its status in relation to agriculture has become a live question, with contradicting points of view among the farmers of that region. In this, Nebraska has been no exception. The ring-necked pheasant has both friends and enemies among jthe farmers and ranchmen of Nebraska.Region in Nebraska From Which Complaints of Damage by Pheasants Have Come
Complaints relative to depredations by pheasants in Nebraska have not come uniformly from all of the counties where these birds occur, but more especially from a block of 16 counties in the east-central part of the state where the birds have found conditions favorable for building up a relatively large population. This block has Valley and Sherman counties for its center, these being in the heart of the region where the pheasant is the least popular among the farmers. The other counties in which the pheasant is more or less commonly complained of by farmers are Buffalo, Hall, Howard, Greeley, Merrick, Nance, Boone, Antelope, southern Holt, Wheeler, Garfield, Loup, Blaine, and Custer. A few complaints have also come from just east of this block of counties — that is from Pierce, Madison, Platte, Polk, and Butler. In the other counties, except Garden and Morrill, the pheasant seems not to have become numerous enough to provoke complaints of serious injury to crops.Plan of the Present Investigation of the Food of the Pheasant
Because of the controversial claims and counter-claims regarding the food habits of the pheasant in Nebraska, and in order to secure facts upon which definite conclusions as to the true status of this imported bird in the state might be reached, at the request of Mr. Frank B. O'Connell, then Chief of the Bureau of Game and Fish of the Nebraska State Department of Agriculture, and of Secretary of Agriculture H. J. McLaughlin, in January, 1929, the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station authorities approved a project to determine the nature of the food of the adult ring-necked pheasant during the year in east-central Nebraska.
It would require an analysis of the crops and gizzards of several hundred pheasants, taken in many localities and habitats and at all seasons, to provide sufficient data for an exactly accurate picture of the food habits of the bird thru the year. Such an extensive and costly study being impractical under existing conditions, it was felt that a more limited number of pheasants, taken in properly varied habitats and representing all seasons, in a typical general locality, would provide sufficient data for a fairly accurate cross-section of the food habits of this bird. Valley county is centrally located in that part of the state from which the bulk of the complaints concerning injury to crops by pheasants have emanated. Accordingly, the pheasants were all taken in the 12 eastern townships of the 16 townships in that county, with the city of Ord in their approximate center, by Mr. Jess A. Kovanda, of the Ord City Schools, under a special permit issued by Mr. O'Connell. Eight pheasants were collected in each month of 1929, except in May and June, while and shortly after the corn was sprouting, when 10 birds were taken, making exactly 100 pheasants in all. These 100 birds were divided equally to sex—5 0 cocks and 50 hens— and, so that all habitats might be represented, they were taken as nearly as possible upon the basis of about one-half of the birds from the "lowland" or stream bottom lands in the valleys and about one-half from the "upland," or the higher surrounding lands and ravines between the hills.
The exact dates and the number and sex of the birds taken on each day are as follows:Fe- Fe- Fe- Date Males males Date Males males Date Males males Jan. 5 2 — May 29 1 2 Sept. 4 1 2 Jan. 12 3 .. June 5 2 2 Sept. 21 ._ 1 Jan. 19 2 1 June 8 3 2 Sept. 26 2 _. Feb. 16 1 2 June 10 ._ 1 Sept. 28 1 1 Feb. 20 3 ._ July 15 .. 1 Oct. 14 3 1 Feb. 23 2 July 16 2 1 Oct. 19 1 ._ Mar. 16 1 4 July 22 1 „ Oct. 21 __ 1 Mar. 23 ._ 1 July 23 1 _. Oct. 26 .. 2 Mar. 25 .. 1 July 29 1 1 Nov. 5 2 _. Mar. 26 .. 1 Aug. 9 1 .. Nov. 16 2 .. Apr. 3 1 1 Aug. 15 1 __ Noc. 23 _. 1 Apr. 6 2 1 Aug. 16 .. 1 Nov. 30 1 2 Apr. 13 1 2 Aug. 17 1 __ Dec. 6 3 2 May 25 2 3 Aug. 18 — 1 Dec. 7 „ 3 May 27 2 .. Aug. 20 .. 3 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 15
After the pheasants were taken, they were immediately sent by express to the Department of Entomology of the Experiment Station, where each bird was given a number and its crop and gizzard were removed. The contents of each crop and gizzard were removed separately, and each carefully sorted into their constituent items, which were weighed accurately down to one onehundreth of a gram. Inasmuch as food remains in the crop of the pheasant for only a relatively short time, and is very little changed while there, the percentages of different food materials have been computed entirely on the basis of the weights of the contents of the 100 crops. In the gizzard the food is ground up, often very finely, and the softer elements, like leaves, fruit pulp, or insect larvae, soon become unidentifiable and pass on into the intestines, while a large part of the hard seeds and the more heavily chitinous portions of the insect may remain in the gizzard, along with the gravel and other hard materials picked up with the food, for an indefinite time. The gizzard contents, therefore, while supplementing the crop contents by throwing much additional light on the range of the food of the bird, cannot fairly be included in the computations to determine the relative amount of each item in the daily food of the pheasant, as they would unduly increase the importance of the harder types of food.The Food Habits of the Pheasants in Other States
Before proceeding to a detailed analysis of the year's food of these 100 Valley county pheasants, it is desirable for purposes of comparison to summarize briefly the findings of other investigators as to the food of the pheasant in other parts of the United States. Local studies of this sort have been made in the Pacific Northwest and in Massachusetts, Colorado, Utah, and South Dakota, the three last-mentioned studies being especially pertinent to those made in Nebraska.Food Habits in the Pacific Northwest
McAtee and Beal in 1912 gave a brief report on the economic status of the ring-necked pheasant in America, based on farmers' reports of damage and particularly on the examination of 14 stomachs from the Pacific Northwest. The birds were accused by New York farmers of digging sprouting corn, oats, barley, beans, and cucurbit seeds, and of being unfriendly to domestic poultry. On the other hand farmers in Oregon and Washington had no complaint to make, and valued pheasants highly. The stomachs of 12 pheasants collected in Oregon and Washington contained oats and wheat to the extent of about 34 per cent of their total contents, and in the case of two pheasants from British Columbia, these grains constituted 82.5 per cent of the total food. From 200 to 960 kernels of wheat and oats were taken by various birds. It was believed that this was largely waste grain, because all of the birds were taken in September, October, and December. One stomach contained 200 refuse peas, another 23 acorns and 200 pine seeds, and a third about 800 capsules of chickweed (Alsine sp.) containing more than 8,000 seeds. Other vegetable matter included browse, rose hips, snowberries (Symphoricarpos racemosus) and seeds of dandelion (Taraxacum taraxacum), lupine (Lupinus sp.), bur clover (Medicago denticulata) and black mustard (Brassica nigra). March fly (Bibio) larvae were heavily eaten, one stomach containing 432 and another 360 of these maggots. The evidence showed that pheasants were gross feeders, with great capabilities for good in destroying insects or for harm in destroying crops. The authors concluded that the economic status of the pheasant was a local problem, depending on the proportion of land under cultivation, the kinds of crops raised, and the quantity of wild food available, with the chances about even for their becoming a useful or harmful factor in agriculture.Food Habits in Massachusetts
Field, Graham, and Adams (3) in Massachusetts reported in 1914 that during the preceding two years numerous complaints had been made relative to damage to farm crops by pheasants. Of these, 21 complaints were of damage to corn, 15 to garden truck, 3 to peas, 2 to tomatoes, 2 to fruit, and 1 to potatoes. Others reported that the pheasants, tho numerous, had done no appreciable damage to crops. Contents of stomachs of pheasants shot while supposedly damaging gardens or farm crops showed grain (all waste except in one instance) 22 per cent, weed seeds 23 per cent, tomatoes 21 per cent, insects 15 per cent, undetermined or of no economic importance 19 per cent.Food Habits in Colorado
Burnett in 1921 reported on the crop and gizzard contents of 48 pheasants taken in Larimer and Weld counties, north-central Colorado, in March, 2; April, 6; May, 6; June, 4; July, 3; August, 5; September, 6; October, 2; November, 9; and December, 5; 1920. Of these 48 pheasants, 31 were males (27 adults and -4 young or immature birds) and 15 were females (10 adults and 5 young or immature birds), while 2 were young birds, undetermined as to sex. Most of the birds were taken in the vicinity of Fort Collins, tho 5 each were taken at Windsor and Waverly, 4 at Loveland, 2 at Wellington, and 1 at Ault. This report was not made in percentage form.
Grain was found in pheasants taken in every month in which any were collected. Of the entire 48 birds, 28 had eaten 5,517 kernels of wheat, 8 had eaten 546 kernels of corn, 6 had eaten 634 kernels of barley, and 6 had eaten 342 kernels of oats, a total of 7,039 kernels of grain, or an average of 146.6 kernels of grain for all of the birds taken, excluding all fragments of grain. In 28 of the birds examined, a total of 2,127 weed seeds were found, as follows: Sunflower (Helianthus sp.), 555 seeds; black bindweed (Polygonum convolvulus), 482 seeds in 8 birds; green foxtail grass (Chaetochloa viridis), 292 seeds in 3 birds; smartweed (Polygonum sp.), 206 seeds in 1 bird; black mustard, 170, and white mustard (Sinapis alba), 165 seeds in 8 birds; black nightshade (Solanum nigrum), 145 seeds in 2 birds; wild oats (Avena fatua), 69 seeds in 5 birds; giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), 30 seeds in 4 birds; Indian bread-root (Psoralea hypogaea), 12 seeds in 4 birds; and lady's thumb (Polygonum persicaria), 1 seed in 1 bird. Alfalfa leaves were considerably eaten as green food. Other vegetable material found included dandelion buds, cherry pits, nightshade (Solanum nigrum and S. triflorum) berries, pinto beans, and vetch (Vicia sp.) seed.
The 48 birds ate 788 insects. The largest number of any species was 558 alfalfa webworms (Loxostege commixtalis), taken by 3 birds (335, 222, and 1, respectively), 16 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA these larvae having been very abundant in the fields in 1920. Eleven of the related sugar-beet webworm (Loxostege sticticalis) were eaten by 3 birds. Altho cutworms (Noctuidae) were common in the fields, only 1 pheasant had eaten them, to the extent of 3 worms. Beetles were eaten to the extent of 163 individuals. Leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) were favorites, and included 26 beet leaf beetles (Monoxia puncticollis), 12 Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), 32 beetles of the sunflower leaf beetle (Zygogramma exclamationis), 6 of the related Zygogramma conjuncta, 9 flea beetles of the species Systena bitaeniata, and 1 of the marsh-inhabiting Phyllobrotica decora. Curculios (Graphorhinus vadosus, Baris sp., Thecesternus humeralis, etc.) were also freely taken, to the number of 14. Other beetles taken were the dung beetle Aphodius inquinatus, 17, Diplotaxis haydeni, 8, and other Scarabaeidae, 5; the tenebrionid beetles, Trimytis pruinosa, 2, Eleodes extricata, 1, Eusattus difficilis, 9, and Blapstinus sp., 8; the melyrid beetle Collops vittatus, 2; the rove-beetle Paederus littorarius, 8; and a click-beetle (Elateridae). Of the above named 86 leaf beetles, 4 8 were regarded as of injurious species, the other 113 beetles being regarded as neutral species. Beneficial beetles eaten were ground-beetle larvae and an adult ground beetle (Harpalus sp.) and a carrion beetle (Silpha ramosa). Only 7 grasshoppers were eaten, and 3 of these were old dry ones, picked up dead. Forty ants were found in these stomachs. One stomach contained a fly puparium. Other insects identified include one each of the black-spotted willow aphis (Lachnus dentatus), the alfalfa treehopper (Campylenchia curvata), and the superb plant bug (Calocoris superbus), an enemy of alfalfa. A single spider was also found in one of the stomachs.
Maxson reported also in 1921 on the crop and gizzard contents of 11 male pheasants taken near Longmont, Boulder county, Colorado, in May, 2; June, 5; September, 1; October, 1; and December, 2; 1916. His report also was not made in percentage form. It showed, however, that the food of the pheasant in that locality was largely composed of vegetable matter, this being at least twice the bulk of the animal matter taken in those months when insects were most eaten. The vegetable matter consisted largely of grain, including corn, wheat and its chaff, oats, and barley. The corn crop was more injured than any other because of the corn-pulling habit of the pheasant, this having resulted in several instances in the complete destruction of the stand over considerable areas. The pheasants showed a liking for tomato fruits and nightshade berries. They also ate young seedling sugar beets and the pulp of seed beets and commercial beets in the fall. Green food eaten included the leaves of alfalfa, nightshade, lamb'squarters (Chenopodium album), and buttercup (Ranunculus sp.). Seeds eaten included smartweeds (Polygonum spp.), foxtail grass, amaranth (Amaranthus sp.), dock (Rumex sp.), orache (Atriplex sp.), Russian thistle (Salsola tragus), sunflower, ragweed, and Rocky Mountain bee plant (Cleome serrulata). No foundation was found for the statements that the pheasant is a great enemy of grasshoppers, tho 18 grasshoppers were found in the birds examined. Beetles of various kinds were commonly eaten, including ground beetles (Carabidae), a tiger beetle (Cicindela sp.), click beetles, leaf beetles, white grubs (Phyllophaga sp.), and a blister beetle (Meloidae) larva. Among the leaf beetles, the Colorado potato beetle was found in two birds, indicating that where potatoes are extensively grown the birds might render their service in the destruction of these pests. No cutworms were found. One pheasant contained portions of an earthworm. Taking the contents of the 11 birds as a whole, 5 birds would be classed as injurious, 4 as beneficial, and 2 as neutral.Food Habits in Utah
Cottam in 1929 reported in detail on a very careful analysis of the contents of the crops and gizzards of 4 5 ringnecked pheasants collected in 1928 in various important agricultural areas in Utah county, Utah, especially on farms where they were reported as doing damage to crops. These 4 5 birds were distributed thru the year as follows: January, 2; February, 2; March, 4; April, 2; May, 1; June, 1; July, 2; August, 1; September , 5; October, 4; November, 19; and December 2. The contents of these stomachs showed that in Utah the pheasant is an omnivorous feeder, with grain as its favorite food. Thirty-three of the 4 5 birds had eaten grain, 29 of them having been collected in or near grain fields. Most of the grain was waste, tho some sprouting grain was taken. The food for the year was 85.5 per cent vegetable matter and 14.5 per cent animal matter. Fifteen of the 45 birds (all taken in the fall and winter) contained 100 per cent of vegetable matter in the crops and gizzards. Thirty-seven contained over 90 per cent of vegetable material, but only 1, a one-third grown chick, contained over 90 per cent of animal matter. Only 7 of the 45 birds had eaten more than 10 per cent of animal matter.
The vegetable matter included 36.7 per cent of grain (of which 79.7 per cent was wheat, 10 per cent corn, 10 per cent barley, and .3 per cent oats), 20.4 per cent of green plant material (including, grass, alfalfa, clover, aquatic plants, buds, beet and lamb's-quarters leaves), 9.5 per cent of weed seeds (of 36 kinds, including smartweed, green foxtail grass, sweet clover (Melilotus alba), wild rose, dock, barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli), mustard, sunflower, Russian thistle, ragweed, etc., in the order given), 5.5 per cent of fruit and vegetables (sugar beets, tomatoes, peas, cherries, apples, grapes,) and 13.4 per cent of miscellaneous and unidentified vegetable matter. The animal food consisted of about 40 kinds of insects, and included 5.8 per cent of Orthoptera (chiefly grasshoppers, including 7 species), 4.1 per cent of Coleoptera (13 species, mostly bill-bugs (Sphenophorus) and other snout-beetles, ground beetles, Aphodius dung beetles, and click-beetles), 2.8 per cent of Hymenoptera (nearly all ants of the genus Formica), and 1.8 per cent of miscellaneous and unidentified animal matter. Animal matter varied in different birds from a mere trace to 96.4 per cent of the contents. At no time of the year was the adult pheasant predominantly insectivorous. Seventeen birds had eaten grasshoppers; 16, beetles; 6, ants; and 6, cutworms.
Considering only the 33 crops and gizzards taken from October to March, inclusive, the vegetable matter averaged 9 6.1 per cent of the food for those six months (varying from 89.7 per cent in October to 99.2 per cent in March), of which 47.2 per cent was grain (varying from 24.2 per cent in March to 62.5 per cent in October), 16.4 per cent was weed seeds (varying from 1.6 per cent in February to 44 per cent in January), 8.6 per cent was fruit and vegetables (nearly all taken in December, OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 17 when they formed 48.7 per cent of that month's food), 5.7 per cent was green plant material (mostly taken in March, when it formed 20.8 per cent of that month's food), and 18.2 per cent was miscellaneous and unidentified vegetable material. For the same six months the animal matter averaged 3.8 per cent of the total food, with Orthoptera forming 1.9 per cent (taken almost entirely in October), Coleoptera .3 per cent (taken in October, November, and March), Hymenoptera .1 per cent (taken in October and February), and miscellaneous unidentified animal matter 1.3 per cent.
Similarly considering only the crops and gizzards of 12 birds taken from April to September, inclusive, the vegetable matter averaged 74.6 per cent of the food for those six months (varying from 50.1 and 53.7 per cent, respectively, in July and May, to 91 and 96 per cent, respectively, in June and August), of which 35.2 per cent was green plant food (taken chiefly in April, May, and June, when it formed, respectively, 69.5, 53.7, and 68 per cent of the food of these months), 2 6.2 per cent was grain (varying from little or none in April, May, and June to 47.9, 79, and 29 per cent, respectively, in Julv, August, and September), 2.8 per cent was weed seeds (almost all taken in September, and forming 12.3 per cent of that month's food), 2.3 per cent fruit and vegetables (all taken in September, and forming 14.2 per cent of the food of the month), and 8.4 per cent was miscellaneous and unidentified vegetable material. For the same six months the animal matter averaged 25.2 per cent of the total food, with Orthopetera forming 9.7 per cent (taken chiefly in July and September when they formed 36.9 and 14.8 per cent of the food of those months), Coleoptera 7.6 per cent (taken chiefly in April and May, when they formed 21.7 and 16.7 per cent of the food of those months), Hymenoptera, 5.6 per cent (almost all taken in May and forming 29.6 per cent of that month's food), and miscellaneous and unidentified animal matter 2.1 per cent.Food Habits in South Dakota
Early in 1929 the Department of Entomology and Zoology of the South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, at Brookings, began a statewide study of the economic status of the pheasant in that state. This study includes not only an analysis of the contents of the crops and gizzards of 500 or more pheasants but also a field study of the food habits of the birds. No complete report on this study has been published, but reports have been given out on the contents of a few of the birds examined, thru an article in Outdoor America by Brown and in other sports publications. For example, the crop and gizzard of one taken early in the spring, while snow was yet on the ground, contained 261 kernels of oats, 151 of barley, and 17 of wheat, and 1,626 seeds of vellow foxtail grass, 50 of green foxtail grass, 98 of sweet clover, IV of wild buckwheat, 9 of wild rose, 5 of Russian thistle, and 2 of lamb's-quarters. The crop and gizzard of another killed while eating corn in a highway contained corn almost exclusively, the only other food being 5 yellow foxtail-grass seeds and 4 wild buckwheat seeds, with a few parts of insects. In another taken in a field of young corn the crop and gizzard contained 65 kernels of unsprouted (probably waste) corn, 26 of oats, 7 of barley, 1 of wheat, 1 yellow foxtail-grass seed, 63 cutworms, and 1 spider. Another had eaten 277 maggots, 5 kernels of wheat, 2 seeds of wild sunflower, and 1 seed each of yellow foxtail grass, green foxtail grass, and knotweed; another, 580 kernels of old waste wheat; another 11 kernels of corn, 12 of barley, and 4 of oats; and still another 79 kernels of wheat and 53 weed seeds.Food Habits in the United States in General
Leffingwell reported in 1928 on the food habits of the ring-necked pheasant, based on analyses of the stomach contents of an unstated number of birds from various parts of the United States. His report may be summarized as follows. Pheasants seem to feed on whatever is easiest to obtain. The food of these birds consists in general of weed seeds, insects, and cultivated crops. In weedy areas or insect infested patches they do good, while in grain fields they do damage. Of cultivated crops the cereal grains, and especially corn, are preferred. Altogether the seeds and fruits of 14 kinds of cultivated crops are known to be eaten by pheasants. The seeds or fruits of 101 species of wild plants were found in the stomachs of pheasants. Of these 4 0 were the seeds of weeds, 59 of plants of neutral value, and 2 were wild fruits—the wild raspberry and wild black cherry. The three kinds of weed seeds most commonly eaten were those of foxtail grass, ragweed, and smartweed. More than 10,000 seeds of foxtail grass, 7,500 of ragweed, and 5,000 of smartweed were in the stomachs examined. One pheasant stomach contained more than 5,000 seeds of foxtail grass.
In the vicinity of Ithaca, New York, where much of the land is weedy, Eaton found that 76 pheasants had eaten the seeds of amaranth, yellow foxtail grass, goosefoot (Chenopodium spp.), ragweed, burdock, (Arctium spp.), and various species of smartweed. The general belief is that in the summer pheasants eat chiefly grasshoppers, June beetles, and caterpillars. One reporter wrote that he found 47 grasshoppers in the crop of a pheasant. The crops of two pheasants killed in Oregon on November 1 and examined by Mr. W. L. Finley contained, respectively, 34 grasshoppers, 3 crickets, 8 beetles, and 280 weed seeds, and 303 cutworms and 60 blue bottle fly maggots. Of the insect food actually found in the stomachs examired by Leffingwell, however, beetles (Coleoptera) formed the largest portion, 417 individuals representing 42 species being found. The only beneficial insect commonly eaten was the tiger beetle, Cicindela sexguttata. Nine species of Lepidoptera (moths), 8 species of grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera), and 26 species of other insects and invertebrates made up the remainder of the animal food. A Minnesota reporter credits pheasants with destroying mice.Summary of the Year's Food Based on the Crop Contents of 100 Nebraska Pheasants
The results of the analyses of the crop (and gizzard) contents of the 100 Valley county, Nebraska, pheasants may now be considered in detail. The food of the ring-necked pheasant as revealed in these analyses consisted on the whole of vegetable matter, such as grains, seeds, pods, berries and plant debris, and of animal matter, such as insects, spiders, millipedes, earthworms, snails, and small vertebrate animals. With this food material proper there was also, of course, a certain amount of undigestible dirt and gravel. Of the 100 crops examined, 44 contained 100 per cent of vegetable matter; 43 contained vegetable matter with more or 18 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA less animal matter intermixed; and 13 (Nos. 12, 13, 20, 23, 30, 43, 45, 53, 81, 83, 84, 91, and 100) were completely empty. None of the crops contained animal matter exclusively, altho one female bird (No. 44) taken on June 5 had a number of beetles, caterpillars, and snails, with a spider and fragments of a millipede in her crop, totaling 5.21 grams, with only .08 gram of vegetable debris and yellow foxtail-grass seed present.2 The 4 4 crops containing only vegetable matter were taken at all seasons, while the 43 that contained some animal matter were all taken between March 16 and December 6, except for two early January birds (Nos. 1 and 2) that had a ground beetle and a grasshopper leg, respectively, in their crops.
Of the 87 crops containing food, 68, or 78.2 per cent, contained more or less grain, which was taken at all seasons of the year but especially during the winter. Of these 68 crops containing grain, 23 contained corn alone. Five each contained popcorn alone; corn and oats; and corn, oats, and barley. Four contained corn and wheat and four contained oats alone. Three contained only barley. Two each contained corn and popcorn, corn, popcorn, and oats; corn, popcorn and barley; corn, oats, wheat, and barley; oats, wheat, and barley; and oats and barley. One each contained corn and barley; corn, popcorn, oats, wheat, and barley; corn, popcorn, oats and barley; corn, oats, wheat, and rye; corn, oats, wheat, barley, and cane; popcorn and barley; and popcorn, oats, and barley. In these 68 crops containing grain there were 1,465 whole kernels of corn, 859 of popcorn, 1,691 of oats, 48 5 of barley, 368 of wheat, 78 of cane, and 1 of rye. In addition, there was an abundance of fragments of corn and other grain. Taking only the whole kernels into consideration, that would be an average of 22 kernels of corn, 13 of popcorn, 25 of oats, 7 of barley, 5 of wheat, and 1 of cane for each one of the 68 grain-eating birds. The number of corn kernels eaten varied in different individual crops from 1 to 178; of popcorn kernels from 2 to 2 69; of oats from 1 to 508; of barley from 1 to 148; and of wheat from 1 to 142. The maximum count of oats and barley kernels occurred in the same crop (No. 60). The cane and rye all occurred in a single crop each (Nos. 8 and 64, respectively). In the gizzards of these same 68 birds there were found in addition 131 whole kernels of corn, 69 of popcorn, 104 of oats, 94 of barley, 65 of cane, and 51 of wheat.
Of the 19 crops that contained no grain, 17 were nearly empty, containing a total of less than 1 gram of vegetable matter. This matter in 8 crops (Nos. 3, 39, 40, 47, 51, 86, 89, and 99) consisted entirely of vegetable debris, varying in quantity from .02 to .34 gram; in 5 crops (Nos. 10, 11, 71, 72, and 75) consisted of from .01 to .26 gram of weed seed; in 3 2 On April 8. 1930. a male pheasant was killed by flying into the front of a car driven by Mr. George C. Porter of Morrill, Scotts Bluff county, 10 miles northwest of that place. Mr. Porter picked it up, and, cutting open the crop, found that it was full of worms. He promptly sent the entire contents of this crop to the Department of Entomology at the College of Agriculture, and on closer analysis these contents were found to consist of 122 large western army cutworms (Euxoa auxiliaris), weighing 57.84 grams, along with 2 grains of barley, 1 grain of oats, and a few unidentified seeds with a little vegetable debris, this vegetable matter altogether weighing but .22 gram. These 122 cutworms were undoubtedly picked up in a nearby alfalfa or wheat field, there being an abundance of this cutworm in western Nebraska in the spring of 1930. This well illustrates the gross feeding habit of the pheasant and its capacity to destroy noxious insects when they are secured easily in large amounts. crops (Nos. 44, 76, and 82) of from .08 to .74 gram of vegetable debris and weed seed mixed; and in 1 crop (No. 85) of .04 gram of vegetable debris and a fly pupa. The two crops that were fairly well filled both contained vegetable debris and weed seeds mixed, to the extent of 5.64 grams (No. 52) and 9.58 grams (No. 87).Percentages of Various Foods in the 100 Pheasant Crops VEGETABLE MATTER
On the basis of percentages by weight, the digestible (non-mineral) food in the 100 crops examined was found to consist of 89.09 per cent of vegetable matter and 10.91 per cent of animal matter. The preponderant part of the vegetable food, as has been indicated, was cultivated grains, chiefly corn. Cultivated grains formed 76.14 per cent, vegetable debris formed 5.37 per cent, weed seeds 4.10 per cent, grass seeds 2.02 per cent, and other seeds, seed pods, and berries 1.46 per cent of the year's food.
Corn, including popcorn, was the most important single item in the pheasant's diet. It alone formed 67.09 per cent of the year's food, and was eaten during every month of the year. The heaviest corn consumption came in the month of January, when it was eaten to the extent of 96.41 per cent of the food of that month, or 19.10 per cent of the food of the year. Corn was heavily consumed during February and April also (forming 89.40 and 84.93 per cent, respectively, of the food of those months), tho in March it dropped decidedly (to 48.88 per cent), along with a sharp temporary increase in the consumption of small grains and the seeds of smartweed and ragweed. There was a decided decline in corn consumption in May (to 64.55 per cent of that month's food), and it reached the lowest point in June (when the consumption of May beetles, cutworms, and other insects was at its height), amounting to 17.16 per cent of that month's food. Corn consumption continued at a relatively low level during July and August (amounting to 2 6.34 and 23.25 per cent, respectively, of the food for those months), and then in September abruptly increased to 78.11 per cent of the month's food. Receding slightly in October and November (the percentage for these two months being, respectively, 68.11 and 60.65), it again increased abruptly in December to form 89.25 per cent of the bird's food for that month.
It will be observed that corn consumption declined from over 80 per cent of the month's food in April to less than 65 per cent in May, and that it reached its lowest point in June. This fact indicates that the pulling of newly sprouted corn is not so attractive a method of securing that grain as is the picking up of waste kernels. Also, the corn found in the May and June crops was mostly unsprouted. Nevertheless, there is plenty of good evidence that the pheasant does pull newly sprouted corn. Mr. Kovanda saw cock pheasants pulling corn on two separate occasions in May, 1929. They would pass up several plants, then suddenly jerk one off. The one jerked off often had an insect burrow near it. Another cock pheasant was observed scratching in newly listed corn and picking up something. In June the spots where pheasants had been seen digging in the lister rows in May had no corn coming up, so it was believed that the pheasants probably got it. Several OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 19 cock pheasants were seen scratching out corn. The hen pheasants apparently preferred the lister rows, where they could hide and find the corn more easily. They were not common in checked corn. One farmer protected his listed corn by scattering some shelled corn along the edge of his field. Damage by ground squirrels, cutworms, etc., may be wrongly charged to the pheasant.
Aside from corn, oats were the grain most eaten, forming 5.11 per cent of the food of the year. Oats were found in the crops of pheasants taken during each month of the year except February, October, November, and December. The amount eaten in January and September was trifling, forming less than 1 per cent of the month's food (.196 and .795 per cent, respectively). In March, April, and May oats formed between 1 and 2 per cent of the food for these months (1.98, 1.13 and 1.02 per cent, respectively). In June consumption of oats increased to 3.59 per cent of the month's food. July marked the high point in oats consumption when they formed 40.63 per cent of the food of that month. Oats were heavily consumed in August also, forming 28.60 per cent of the food for that month.
Next to oats, barley was the preferred small grain, forming 2.34 per cent of the food for the year. Barley was represented in the crops of pheasants taken during each month of the year except February, June, November, and December. In January, March, and October the amount of barley eaten was less than 1 per cent of the food of these months (.368, .286, and .178 per cent, respectively). In April and May barley formed between 1 and 2 per cent of the food for these months (1.31 and 1.05 per cent, respectively). As with oats, July marked the high point in barley consumption, constituting 15.71 per cent of the food of the month. Barley was fairly heavily eaten in August also, forming 12.28 per cent of that month's food, then dropping to 5.52 per cent of the month's food in September.
Wheat, including the chaff found, formed 1.45 per cent of the pheasant's food of the year. It was represented in the crops of birds atken in January, March, April, May, July, and August. In March, at spring-wheat sowing time, it formed 7.67 per cent of the month's food, and in July, at wheat harvest, it formed 6.75 per cent of the food of the month. In January, April, May, and August it formed less than 1 per cent of the month's food, the exact amounts being .063, .055, .209, and .408 per cent, respectively.
Cane and rye constituted, respectively, only .147 and .003 per cent of the year's food. Black amber cane was eaten only in January, when the crop of a male pheasant (No. 81) taken on upland on the nineteenth contained 78 grains of it (constituting .744 per cent of the months food), along with 74 whole grains and fragments of corn, 17 grains of barley, 6 grains of oats, and 2 grains of wheat. Rye apparently is but rarely eaten. One grain was found (.081 per cent of the month's food), along with 14 grains of corn, 22 of oats, and 1 of wheat, in the crop of a male pheasant (No. 64) taken on upland ground on August 17.
It is interesting to note that the only grass seeds found in either the crop or the gizzard of these pheasants were those of grasses belonging to the tribe Paniceae, including the genera Panicum, Echinochloa, Chaetochloa, and Cenchrus. These constituted 2.02 per cent of the year's food, and were practically entirely the seeds of foxtail grass (Chaetochloa), the green species (viridis) being a little more freely eaten than the yellow one (glauca). Mr. Kovanda saw a cock pheasant picking up foxtail-grass seeds in August. Together seeds of these two foxtail grassses constituted 2.00 per cent of the year's food, and were eaten every month in the year and constituted, respectively, 1.04, 13.96, 7.67, 14.49, and 2.64 per cent of the food for the five months of July, August, September, October, and November. In the seven other months these seeds were eaten in only trifling amounts. Barnyard-grass seeds were eaten in trifling amounts in January, March, April, and September, and a few sand-bur-grass (Cenchrus tribuloides) seeds were found in a single crop, that of a male bird (No. 93) taken on upland on December 6. Witch-grass (Panicum capillare) seeds were found in the gizzard contents of a male bird (No. 92) collected on lowland on November 30.
Of the weed seeds, those of smartweed (Polygonum pennsylvanicum) and other Polygonums (convolvulus, persicaria, etc.) were the most heavily consumed, constituting 2.07 per cent of the year's food. They were eaten to some extent in every month in the year except June, July, August, and September, but, except in March, when they constituted 24.55 per cent of that month's food, the amount was trifling. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus, etc.) seeds were next in favor, being eaten more or less in every month from October to May, inclusive, except that none were found in the March crops, but reaching an important volume only in November, when they constituted 14.63 per cent of the food of that month. The seeds of the giant ragweed were eaten in February, March, and April, but only in March to any important extent, forming 5.22 per cent of the March food. The seeds of the partridge pea (Cassia fasciculata) were found only in December crops, but then in such amounts as to constitute 4.53 per cent of the food of that month. A number of other weed seeds were eaten by the pheasant, but none of them constituted as much as one-tenth of 1 per cent of the year's food of the bird, so are not to be regarded as important. These include the seeds of buffalo-bur (Solanum rostratum), gromwell (Lithospermum linearifolium), false gromwell (Onosmodium occidentale), pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), sweet clover, beggar-ticks (Bidens sp.), milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and Russian thistle. In the gizzards, seeds of common ragweed (Ambrosia elatior), bindweed (Convolvulus sp.), and spurge (Euphorbia sp.) were found, these being eaten chiefly and respectively in December and January, in December, January, and March, and in May.
Other seeds eaten by the pheasants were those of the osage orange (Toxylon pomiferum), which were eaten to the extent of .7 62 per cent of the January food and those of the elm (Ulmus americana), which were eaten to the extent of 4.47 per cent of the June food. The pods and seeds of the violet (Viola pedatifida) were eaten in May and June, only very slightly in the former month but constituting 1.16 per cent of the month's food in June. The pods and seeds of nyctelea (Nyctelea nyctelea) together formed 3.7 9 per cent of the pheasant's June food. The gizzard contents showed that -.J 20 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA buttercup (Ranunculus sp.) seeds were freely eaten in May, that the seeds of Solomon's seal (Polygonatum commutatum) were eaten thru the year, and heavily consumed in June, and that the seeds of Virginia dayflower (Commelina virginica) were eaten from January to August. Wild raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) seeds were eaten to the extent of 2.48 per cent of the July food. Berries of the nightshade (Solanum nigrum) were eaten freely in October and November, forming 8.82 per cent of the pheasant's food for October and 1.71 per cent of its food for November.
Because of the quick digestion of the pulp and consequent early loss of identity in the crop, probably the nightshade berries and raspberry seeds found in the crop do not correctly reflect the quantity and diversity of wild fruit eaten by the pheasant. The seeds of fruits, collecting in the gizzard, probably give a somewhat better idea of this food item. In the gizzards examined were seeds of the wild prairie rose (Rosa arkansana), riverside grape (Vitis vulpina), poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), elder (Sambucus canadensis), wild raspberry, wolf berry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis), sandcherry (Prunus besseyi), and chokecherry (Prunus virginia.'na), the order given indicating the relative amount of each found. Fruit consumption was apparently lightest in September, when only a few wild rose apples were available, and the seeds were found in the gizzards. In October and November wild grapes were heavily eaten (continuing to be taken in small quantities until June), and the consumption of rose apples steadily increased to its maximum in the latter month. Poison ivy berries and wolfberries were eaten in November, the former being heavily consumed in January and February and on to April, the latter on to March. In December the wild fruit was rose apples and wolfberries, the former continuing to be eaten freely in January and then in reduced amounts until May. Sandcherries were eaten in May, June (maximum), July, and August in small amounts. Chokecherries were eaten in July, August (the maximum), and November. Raspberries were eaten in July only, and then quite freely. Elderberries were eaten in August only, in small amounts.
The material classified as vegetable debris was undoubtedly largely the foliage of various plants. Mr. Kovanda saw a hen pheasant pulling off the top of a corn plant in June, and two cock pheasants eating young sudan grass in July. They were reported to him as pulling out garden plants in July also.ANIMAL MATTER
Insects of various kinds comprised the bulk of animal matter, these collectively amounting to 6.33 per cent of the food of the year. Beetles (Coleoptera) and larvae were the most eaten, forming 2.78 per cent of the year's food. Also in terms of the food of the year, grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera) constituted 1.53 per cent, caterpillars and moths (Lepidoptera) 1.06 per cent, maggots and flies (Diptera) .830 per cent, and ants (Hymenoptera) .044 per cent. The remaining insect food was bugs and miscellaneous other insects. Next to insects, earthworms (Oligochaeta) were the form of animal life most eaten, forming 2.76 per cent of the year's food and 13.57 per cent of the food eaten during May. They were sparingly eaten during April and June, also, but not in any other month. Toads (Bufo sp.) were eaten during June and July, forming 8.89 per cent of the food of the former month and -571 per cent of the year's food. Snails (Gasteropoda), eaten during April, May, and June (most heavily in May) formed .511 per cent of the year's food. Egg shells constituted .322 per cent, bone fragments .277 per cent, and millipedes (Diplopoda) and spiders (Araneida), .13 9 per cent of the food of the year.
The beetles and their larvae consumed by the pheasants included lamellicorn beetles (Scarabaeidae), ground beetles and their larvae, curcullos (Curculionidae), click-beetles, darking beetles (Tenebrionidae), leaf beetles, long-horn beetles (Cerambycidae), histerteetles (Histeridae), and death-watch beetles (Ptinidae). The lamellicorn beetles were eaten during April, May, June, and July, and included a number of species. The only one eaten in April was Pseudaphonus pyriformis, a rather uncommon beetle, which was represented in the crop of a male pheasant (No. 27) taken on upland on the sixth. In May, however, May beetles (Phyllophaga spp.), which are the adults of the destructive white grubs, the two-spotted vine chafer (Anomala binotata), which feeds on grape leaves, various species of harmless scavenger dung beetles (Onthophagus hecate, Aphodius spp., Ataenius, sp.), and a carrion-eating skin beetle (Trox aequalis) were all eaten, and constituted, collectively, 3.87 per cent (respectively 1.46, 1.45, .907, and .049 per cent) of the food for that month. May beetles were consumed to the maximum extent in June, when they constituted 13.43 per cent of that month's food. In June a male pheasant (No. 49) taken on the eighth had the beetle Cremastocheilus knochii in its crop, and a few of the dung beetles Onthophagus hecate continued to be eaten during June and July.
In the ground-beetle family, several species of the genus Harpalus (herbivagus, pennsylvanicus, erraticus, etc.) were eaten in limited amounts at all seasons of the year. Together these constituted .294 per cent of the food of the year. The seed-corn beetle (Agonoderus pallipes), which attacks the planted corn kernels and young corn plants, was eaten in moderate numbers from March to June, inclusive. The consumption in April of a few of the predaceous ground beetles (Bembidion sp.) was offset by the destruction of primarily vegetarian forms, Amara sp. in April and Anisodactylus harrisi in May. Curculios, which were eaten during April, May, and June, composed 2.89 per cent of the food of June, and in May and June included the imbricated snoutbeetle (Epicaerus imbricatus), which feeds on the leaves of fruit trees, corn, and vegetables, and of the timothy bill-bug (Sphenophorus parvulus), which often injures corn when it is planted on sod ground. The gizzard of pheasant (No. 41) taken on May 29 contained the related bill-bug Sphenophorus melanocephalus. Click-beeUes (the adults of wire-worms) of several species, including Limonius auripilis, Aeolus elegans, Monocrepidius auritus, and Hemicrepidius memmonius, were eaten commonly, but not heavily, in May, June, and July. A female (No. 63) taken on lowland August 16 had five beetles of the injurious plains false wireworm (Eleodes opaca) in its crop. Leaf beetles eaten included principally the adults of the destructive western corn-root worm (Diabrotica longicornis), which were eaten in August and October, but also a few of the ragweed leaf OUTDOOR NEBRASKA 21 beetle (Zygogramma suturalis) and the three-spotted beet flea-beetle (Disonycha triangularis) in May, and of the black-legged sweet-potato beetle (Jonthonata nigripes), and the striped sweet-potato beetle (Metriona bivittata) in June. The common long-horn beetle Tetraopes femoratus, the larva of which develops in the stems and roots of milkweed, was eaten by a female (No. 70) taken on upland on September 4. In May and June hister-beetles (Hister ulkei) were eaten by three different pheasants (Nos. 33, 36, and 46, all females), one of which (No. 46) also ate a death-watch beetle in June.
The belief that pheasants are habitually heavy consumers of grasshoppers was not borne out in this study. As before stated, grasshoppers and crickets constitutea 1.53 per cent of the year's food. They were eaten chiefly from July to November, inclusive, forming, respectively, .810, 14.38, 7.16, 2.58, and 11.22 per cent of the food of these months. They constituted nearly all of the animal food eaten by the pheasant in November. Small dried legs and other fragments of dead grasshoppers were eaten in January, March, and April, but these were only trifling in amount. The red-legged grasshopper (Melanoplus femur-rubrum) constituted nearly one-half of the Orthoptera consumed by the pheasant. The great bulk of the other approximate half of the grasshoppers and crickets consumed, and in almost equal amounts, were the two-striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus), lesser migratory grasshopper (Melanoplus atlanis), and field cricket (Gryllus assimilis). Altogether, short-horned grasshoppers comprised 1.29 per cent, and other Orthoptera, including field crickets, tree crickets (Oecanthus sp.), and meadow grasshoppers (Conocephalus sp.), only .24 per cent of the year's food.
All of the Lepidopterous food of the pheasant that could be definitely identified to the family, and that included 9 3 per cent of the total of it, was the larvae and moths of Noctuidae, and it is highly probable that much of the 7 per cent of unidentified Lepidopterous larvae and pupae was also Noctuid in nature. Cutworms of several species were eaten freely in May and June (maximum), and to a less extent in July, this item constituting 1.41, 7.61, and .987 per cent, respectively, of the food of these months. These cutworms included many of the most destructive corn-field cutworms in Nebraska, such as the dark-sided cutworm (Euxoa messoria), dingy cutworm (Feltia ducens), bronzed cutworm (Nephelodes emmedonia), greasy cutworm (Agrotis ypsilon), and granulated cutworm (Feltia annexa), the order given indicating the relative amount of each species consumed by the pheasant. The cornear worm (Heliothis obsoleta) and cutworm moths were found only in the crops of birds taken in October, and together formed 2.83 per cent of that month's food.
Of the maggots and flies consumed by the pheasant, the larvae of the March-fly Bibio albipennis were by far the most prominent in the crops examined. They occurred in birds taken in March, April, and November and constituted 4.62 per cent of the total April food. A tachina-fly (Tachinidae sp.) found in the crop of a female pheasant (No. 59), taken on upland July 29, was the only adult fly found in these studies. Evidently the pheasant is not quick enough to catch sufficient flies to make them any considerable part of its diet.
Field ants of several common species—Prenolepis imparis, Formica rufa obscuripes, Formica fusca, Lasius niger neonigra (the nurse ant for the corn-root aphis), and Formica pallidefulva schaufussi incerta—were found in the crops of the pheasants studied, but only in small quantities. They occurred in birds taken in March to July, inclusive, most numerously in April, when they formed .18 7 per cent of that month's rood. In the gizzard of a male pheasant (No. 48), taken on lowland on June 8, a single specimen of Aphaenogaster fulva was found.
Among the remaining insects identified among the crop contents of these 100 pheasants may be mentioned two species of true bugs (Hemiptera)—a damsel-bug (Nabis ferus) in July and a dusky plant-bug (Adelphocoris rapidus) in August. An assassin bug (Reduviidae sp.) was found in a gizzard of a female pheasant (No. 84) taken on upland on October 26.
The 10 0 birds examined did not furnish much evidence as to the alleged habit of pheasants' attacking and destroying the nests and eggs of other birds. Egg shells were found in the alimentary tract of 4 of the birds, as follows: in a female (No. 36) taken on lowland May 2 5, the crop of which contained .45 gram of egg shell and 1.32 grams of bone fragments, while there was .15 gram of bone fragments in her gizzard; in a female (No. 35) taken on upland on May 25 which had .0 8 gram of egg shell in the crop; in a female (No. 42) taken on lowland on May 29, the crop of which contained .08 gram of egg shell; and in a female (No. 52) taken on lowland June 10, the crop of which contained 1.3 4 grams of egg shell and .6 8 gram of bone fragments. The identity of the eggs could not be determined definitely from the fragments of shell. It will be noted, however, that all of these birds that had eaten eggs were females, taken during late May and early June, during the height of the pheasant hatching season. Both Oldys and McAtee state that pheasants in pens easily develop the habit of eating eggs. This habit is usually begun by cock pheasants' eating broken eggs left in the pens, but the hen pheasants also readily acquire it. It is quite possible that these four females were incubating birds, and that they had eaten broken eggs from their own nests. In August, 1929, Mr. Kovanda placed a few chicken eggs in a path used by some old pheasants, and at the end of a fortnight the eggs had not been molested. Bone fragments were found in gizzards of three additional birds— .08 gram in a female (No. 31) collected April 13 on lowland, .52 gram in a female (No. 54) collected July 16 on lowland, and .13 gram in a male (No. 78) collected in October on upland. These bone fragments may have been those of young birds, but also may have been those of mice or other small mammals.GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
Whether the pheasant is to be classed as a bird that is beneficial or injurious to agriculture appears to be essentially a local matter. It depends not only on the abundance of the birds, but also on the kinds of crops raised and the amount of wild food available in the locality in question. No general statement can be made covering all cases. The capacity of the bird for doing good or harm is great, because it tends to feed heavily on the most easily available, palatable foods. Probably 22 OUTDOOR NEBRASKA its greatest capacity for harm is developed in graingrowing sections in the fields of corn and small grains. The evidence is conclusive that in Nebraska as in other grain-growing sections of the United States, the pheasant is dominantly a granivorous bird. However with little doubt a large portion of the grain eaten by the Nebraska birds studied was waste grain, gleaned from the ground. Over 55 per cent (55.1) of the corn eaten was taken during the five months from December to April, inclusive, and nearly 75 per cent (74.9) of the small grains eaten was taken during July and August. The economic service performed by the pheasant in eating weed seeds is not very important, not only because the total amount eaten is not very great (about 6 percent of the year's food), but because the number of weed seeds annually escaping destruction by the birds and all others of their natural enemies is probably more than sufficient to produce as great a weed stand as the conditions of natural competition and cultivation will permit to grow and mature. If the pheasant population is permitted to increase unrestrictedly in Nebraska, there will no doubt be increased injury to crops, and consequently augmented complaints by farmers; but if the birds are held down to reasonable numbers they will probably on most farms render a sufficient service by destroying injurious beetles, cutworms, grasshoppers, and other noxious insects as on the whole to balance, approximately, the harm they do to crops.
Nebraska's New Game and Fish Laws for 1931(The following game laws are now in effect in Nebraska; and will continue in force until the 19.31 Session laws go into effect.) OPEN SEASON (Birds) BAG MMITS Rail, except coots...............................Sept. 16th to No. 30th. Snipe (Vvilson and Jack)....................Sept. 16th to Nov. 1st Wait-r=fowi (Brant, Coots, Ducks, oeese)........................ ................................................................Sept. 16th to Dec. 31st. Pheasants (male)....................(Jpen date to be fixed by Commission. Plover....................................................No open season unless ordered by the Commission. Prairie chickens and grouse....................No open season in 1930. Wood duck .......,......................................................No open season. Eider duck ................................................................No open season. Curlew ........................................................................No open season. Swan ...............................................................-...........No open season. Crane (Sand Hill & Whooping)..................No open season. Quail ............................................................................No open season. Partridge ..................................................................No open season. Hungarian partridge ........................................No open season. Dove ............................................................Sept. 1st to Sept. 15th. Wild Turkey ............................................................No open season. Female pheasants ................................................No open season. except when ordered by commission. OPEN SEASON (Animals) Mink, rabbits and skunks...............Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. Tree squirrels (all species)................Oct. 1st to Dec. 31st. Raccoons..........._.......Nov. 16th to Feb. 15th next ensuing. Opossum....................Nov. 16th to Feb. 15th next ensuing. Muskrats........................................To be fixed by Commission, Opossum....................Nov. 16th to Feb. 15th next ensuing. Foxes................................Nov. 1st to Feb. 15th next ensuing. Otter..............................Nov. 16th to Feb. 15th next ensuing. Beaver .......................................______________No open season. Buffalo ...............................„.......................................No open season. Deer .............................................-...............................No open season. Antelope ....................................................................No open season. Mountain Sheep ..................................._______No open season. Mountain Goat ......................................................No open season. FISHING OPEN SEASON (Fish) Black bass, Big mouth and Small mouth, 10 inches in length or larger.................................................................... ............________June 10th to April 30th next ensuing. Black bass, Big mouth and Small mouth, less than 10 inches in length........................................No open .season. White, striped or rock bass, 6 inches in length or larger....................June 10th to Apr. 30th next ensuing. White, striped or rock bass, less than 6 inches in length....................................................................No open season. Pickerel and Great Northern Pike, 15 inches long or larger............May 1st to March 16th next ensuing. Pickerel and Great Northern Pike, less than 15 inches long........................................................No open season. Wall-eyed pike or pike perch, 12 inches long or larger..........._......—.May 15th to Apr. 1st next ensuing. Wall-eyed pike less than 12 inches in length................ ............................................................___...............No open season. Trout, 8 inches in length or larger...........................______ ...........................................___________Apr. 1st. to Oct. 31st. Trout, less than 8 inches in length___No open season. Crappies, 6 inches in length or larger................................ .................................................._______Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. Crappies, less than 6 iniches in length....No open season. Perch, yellow, white and striped and sun fish 6 inches in length or larger........Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. Perch, yellow, white and striped and sun fish less than 6 inches in length..................No open season. Catfish, 12 inches in length or larger...................._____ ......._.............................................................Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. Catfish, less than 12 inches in length....No open season. Bullheads, 6 inches in length or larger............................ ..................................................._______Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. Bullheads less than 6 inches in length__No open season.
It shall be unlawful for any person in any one day to kill, catch, take, or, save as herein excepted, to have in his possesion at any time a greater number of game birds, game animals or game fish of any one kind than,Prover ........................................................................._______ 10 Grouse, including prairie chicken_____........____5 Rails (except coots) ........................................................„ 15 Snipe (Wilson and Jack)______........................_____15 Ducks ...................................................................................___15 Doves ..........._................____............_.........................._____15 Geese, including brants ......._......___.................___ 4 Pheasants .......................................................................____ 5 Squirrels ..........._________________..........................___10 Raccoons ...........................................................................___ 3 Opossums .........................................................................____ 3 Trout (any kind) legal size............................................ 15 Black bass (Small mouth) legal size........................ 15 Black bass (Large mouth) legal size__________ 15 Pickerel and Great Northern Piike, legal size 10 Game fish, any other kind legal size, except catfish taken in Missouri river.................____25
It shall be unlawful for any person to have in his or her possession at any time a total of more than 40 of the larger game birds to-wit: Geese, brant, ducks, coots, grouse, prairie chickens, and pheasants, or to have in possession at any one time a total of more than 25 of the major game fish to-wit: Bass, pickerel, pike, trout, and catfish, and it shall be unlawful for any person to have in his or her possession at any one time in excess of forty game birds of all kinds or fifty game fish of all kinds. Of such total there shall be no more of any one kind than the daily bag or creel limit herein specified, except that it shall be lawful for a person to have in his or her possession during the open season thereon such additional number of ducks but of none other of said larger game birds as to make a total bag of forty of said larger game birds or a total bag of thirty ducks alone.FISHING
Game fish may be taken with hook and line only. Illegal to snag or take with hands. Set lines are legal, providing not more than five hooks to line. Traps, nets, seines, etc., are illegal and subject to confiscation.PERMIT FEES Hunting and fishing, resident permits, $1.10 required for all persons who have reached sixteenth birthday. Permits necessary for women same as men. Permits must be carried on person. Hunting and fishing, non-resident permits................$10.10 Fishing, noon-resident .......„.............................._......„...........$ 2.10 Trapping, resident ...................................„.........._________.$ 2.10 (Trapping permit required for all persons regardless of age. Trapping, non-resident .......................................................$100.10 DAMAGES
Under the new Nebraska law, every person illegally taking game or fish must pay the state for such game and fish in addition to the fines and costs. The damage assessed is as follows:Buffalo ..................................................................................$300.00 each Elk ________________________________________.$300.00 each Deer ...................................._______....................................$300.00 each Antelope Swan .... $300.00 each .4300.00 each Wild Turkey ................................................................._..$ 25.00 each Wild Goose ..........................................................................$ 25.00 each Duck .....................................................„...........................$ 10.00 each Pheasant .... Shore bird Quail Partridge ...............___ Prairie Chicken ____ Fur-bearing animal Fish ................................... Song Bird ....................... $ 10.00 each ...$ 10.00 each ...$ 10.00 each ...$ 10.00 each ...$ 10.00 each ..$ 10.00 each ...$ 5.00 each ...$ 5.00 each
Your 1931 Permit is now Ready!HUNTING AND FISHING PERMITS SHOULD BE PURCHASED AT THIS TIME
It is unlawful to hunt, fish or trap without having a permit in your possession.
Money derived from the sale of permits is used for the purchase and upkeep of State Fishing lakes, parks, hatcheries, refuges; for the maintenance of game wardens; for the purchase of birds and game.
Help protect game and fish by observing the law and by asking others to do the same.Resident Hunting and Fishing Permit____________$ 1.10 Non-Resident Hunting and Fishing Permit_______$10.10 Non-Resident Fishing Permit________ $ 2.10
You can buy these permits from County Clerk, banks, hardware stores, sporting good stores, etc.GAME, FORESTATION & PARKS COMMISSION LINCOLN