Survey to determine impact of Jersey’s pheasants

Pheasant (male)(2). Photo by Mick DrydenFrom Department of the Environment

The Department of the Environment is carrying out a survey of Jersey’s pheasants to find out more about the birds and understand their impact on local agriculture and wildlife.

Charmaine Rice, a student from the University of Kent, is working with the Department and the Jersey Biodiversity Centre, along with local volunteers, on a one-year project.

The aim of the project is to find out where pheasants live in Jersey, what the population size is and their local impact, including their effect on farmland, and the scale of their impact on local wildlife such as lizards and toads. Pheasant (female). Photo by Mick Dryden At this time of year you can hear the male pheasants crowing to establish their territories and attract females. You may notice them more as they perform wing whirring displays, strut around to impress the females and square up to other males to defend their patch. The females can begin nesting as early as mid-March and lay clutches of up to 15 eggs.

Pheasants are not native to Jersey and were first introduced in the 1800s, but at that time did not successfully breed. Other attempts to establish a population were made in the 1950s when it is thought they started to breed in the wild in small numbers. By the 1980s due to captive-breeding and further introductions, pheasants grew in numbers and are now common in Jersey’s countryside.

The project’s findings will be used to help the Department decide how pheasants should be managed in the future and what their legal status should be.

Charmaine is directly recording pheasants from 36 transects in 18 1km squares across Jersey, and has five volunteers helping who have taken a square each. Highest numbers of pheasants seen so far have been near Le Landes and near La Blinerie, St. Clement which consistently has around 20 pheasants in one field. Pheasants have been seen in all squares. Over 300 people have filled out the questionnaire so far and 190 pheasant sightings were recorded over the last survey week. La Blinerie, St. Clements You can take part in the survey by completing an online questionnaire here If you find a dead pheasant Charmaine would like to hear about it and can be contacted at c.rice@gov.je  or telephone 07797810987.

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