Feeding pheasants along the road doing more harm than good

Pheasant sightings are commonplace along roadsides everywhere in the region. Experts say that leaving corn for the hungry birds at this time of year could be doing more harm than good. Photo / Per Peterson

Raise your hand if you a) have hit a pheasant with your vehicle this winter; b) have had to swerve to miss a pheasant or a bevy of them on the road; c) have had to slow down or even stop to avoid “a” or “b”; or d) all of the above.

If you’ve driven area roads at all this winter, chances are you put your hand in the air, as southwest Minnesota’s most popular game bird is making its presence known all over the landscape, especially along highways and county roads. And part of the problem is us.

“I think people have the misconception that they need grain to survive, and they don’t,” said Marshall DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor Wendy Krueger. “I pulled over and picked up a roadkill hen and opened her up to see her body condition. She had a good amount of fat reserves, and her crop was full of small seeds. They’re very adaptable and eat a variety of different food.”

See more in this week’s paper!