Current Research


Project summary:  Research in east-central Illinois examines the influence of field and landscape characteristics on pheasant demography and inter-patch movement. Additional details are available on the project website.

Technical Committee contact:  Stan McTaggart, Illinois Department of Natural Resources


Ring-necked Pheasant production/movements in response to wind energy development.  Project leads: ISU/IDNR.

This project will measure ring-necked pheasant behavioral responses to wind turbines prior to and during the nesting season to assess possible avoidance behavior.  More information is available here.

Evaluation of Iowa Pheasant Recovery CRP SAFE practice using standardized crowing counts.  Project lead: IDNR.

This project will use N-mixture models with replicated spring crowing counts to estimate ring-necked pheasant rooster densities at treatment (SAFE) and control (random) sites stratified by landscape context.  More information on Iowa's SAFE program can be found here.

Grassland bird and invertebrate response to grassland diversity in restored plantings in NW Iowa.  Project leads: ISU/IDNR.

As part of a long-term project to compare breeding bird use of different habitat types in the Spring Run Wetland Complex, we used human imprinted pen-reared pheasant chicks to assess invertebrate prey availability in the treatment habitats.  Imprinted chicks followed researchers through treatment fields and were allowed to forage for 30 minutes.  Collected chicks are measured for weight gain to compare treatments.  More information can be found here.

Technical Committee contact for all projects:  Todd Bogenschutz, Iowa Department of Natural Resources


Pheasant responses to cover crop establishment

The project involves radio-tagging pheasants and documenting their behavior in a western Kansas landscape where cover crops and other habitats are available to the birds.

Linking CRP grassland management to plants, insects and birds

This project will provide managers and policy makers with a better understanding of the effects of grazing and planting diversity on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. Results will provide guidance for decision making for game and non-game wildlife, land management practices, and land-use policy.

Technical Committee contact for all projects:  Jeff Prendergast, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism


Pheasant habitat selection and survival (Technical Committee contacts:  Dr. Nicole Davros and Lindsey Messinger, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

Current research in southwest Minnesota is evaluating pheasant habitat selection and survival to help inform grassland management efforts, especially forb interseeding.

Evaluating insecticide exposure risk for grassland wildlife on public lands (PI & Technical Committee contact:  Dr. Nicole Davros)

In Minnesota’s farmland regions, concerns about the impact of soybean aphid insecticides (especially chlorpyrifos, lambda-cyhalothrin, and bifenthrin) on pheasants and other grassland birds have been raised by natural resource managers and members of the public. Our research project is assessing the direct and indirect exposure risk of grassland wildlife, especially birds and insects, to common soybean aphid insecticides along a gradient from soybean field edge to grassland interior. Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).  Collaborators include the UM/Minnesota Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit.




Project summary:  This suite of projects includes measuring pheasant responses to landscape composition and hunting pressure.  More details are available on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's pheasant research page.

Technical Committee contact:  Dr. Jeff Lusk, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Project summary:  This suite of research projects revolves around assessing the success of a 10-year pheasant restoration effort.

Technical Committee contacts:  Tom Keller, Pennsylvania Game Commission

South Dakota

Project summary:  This project involves modeling pheasant abundance in relation to landscape conditions.

Technical Committee contact:  Travis Runia, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks


Photos courtesy of Tim Lyons (top), Nicole Davros (second from top) and Lindsey Messinger (third from top).