Monitoring Breeding and Survival of Ring-Necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) in the Sacramento Valley, Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and Klamath Basin, Northern California—Five-Year Summary, 2013–17

Open-File Report 2019-1062
Prepared in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Pheasants Forever
By: , and 

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center, Pheasants Forever, Mandeville Island Duck Club, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife collaborated in a reconnaissance study to monitor populations of ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) using radio-telemetry in the Sacramento Valley, Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and Klamath Basin of northern California. The purpose of this study was to provide agencies and private landowners with a framework of decision-support tools to help manage pheasant populations in California. During winter, spring, and autumn of 2013–17, we radio- or Global Positioning System-marked 227 female pheasant across six study sites. Data collection was focused on investigating nest-site and brood-rearing habitat selection, examining avian predator composition, and estimating population vital rates to improve our understanding of pheasant population dynamics and to identify factors that may contribute to decreases in pheasant populations in California. The cumulative annual adult survival probability across all sites during 2013–17 was 27.6 percent (95-percent confidence interval [CI], 21.9–33.6), and the cumulative nest and brood survival probabilities were 34.5 percent (95-percent CI, 27.0–42.2) and 54.2 percent (95-percent CI, 43.7–63.5), respectively. Evidence from microhabitat surveys completed at nest-sites, brood locations, and random locations suggested that marked female pheasant tended to select increasing vertical cover and residual vegetation cover and tended to avoid areas of increasing bare ground cover regardless of life-history stage. However, females at nest-sites selected increasing grass cover and height, whereas brood-rearing females tended to select increasing forb cover and height. Only perennial grass cover and perennial grass height were shown to have a positive influence on nest survival, which suggests that increasing perennial grass cover in areas occupied by pheasant may increase nest survival. Analysis of environmental factors linked to vital rate information are ongoing and will continue with investigations at increased spatial scales (that is, macro-habitat) to develop integrated population models that can incorporate abundance estimates from crow count data with vital rates from telemetry data. This report includes results from 5 years of data collection and should be interpreted with caution, as these findings are preliminary.

Suggested Citation

=Dwight, I.A., Coates, P.S., Vogt, J.H., Atkinson, J.L., Fleskes, J.P., Connelly, D.P., Meshriy, M.C., Gardner, S.C., Stoute, S.T., and Pitesky M.E., 2019, Monitoring breeding and survival of ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) in the Sacramento Valley, Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and Klamath Basin, northern California—Five-year summary, 2013–17: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1062, 90 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191062.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Background
  • Study Area
  • Methods
  • Preliminary Results
  • Interpretations
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Monitoring breeding and survival of ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) in the Sacramento Valley, Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and Klamath Basin, northern California—Five-year summary, 2013–17
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2019-1062
DOI 10.3133/ofr20191062
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 90 p.
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Sacramento Valley
Online Only (Y/N) Y