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Birds of the St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin


Quails and Pheasants

Bobwhite -- Ring-necked Pheasant -- Gray Partridge

Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)

Status: Regular permanent resident.

Distribution: The Valley is at the extreme northern limit of the bobwhite range. A very rare resident, restricted to Washington, St. Croix, and Pierce counties. Recent summer records from Crex Meadows in Burnett County are probably released birds. Additionally, Green and Janssen (1975) report records of bobwhites in Pine County. Habitat loss coupled with winter stress have created a severe impact on bobwhite populations.

Habitat: Primary bobwhite habitat includes retired agricultural fields and Old Field Community intermixed with hedgerows and scattered shrubs. Much of this habitat continues to be altered or destroyed by expanding agricultural and urban development.

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)

Status: Introduced permanent resident.

Distribution: Fairly common resident of the Western Upland and Central Plain, rare to absent in the Northern Highland. Ring-necked pheasants were first introduced in western Wisconsin during the 1930's. Populations remained fairly stable through the 1950's and 1960's, primarily because of yearly releases by State wildlife agencies. Currently, ring-necked pheasant populations are reduced because of farming practices that eliminated most of their habitat. Urban expansion has not impacted this species to nearly the extent that agricultural production has. Green and Janssen (1975) stated that the largest populations remaining in Minnesota exist in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Habitat: The ring-necked pheasant is a species of agricultural areas, primarily edge habitats including field margins, fencerows, retired cropland, Old Field Communities, and heavily vegetated wetlands. Ring-necked pheasants in the Central Plain have shown an encouraging response to Managed Grasslands that are maintained for duck production.

Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix)

Status: Introduced permanent resident.

Distribution: Rare resident of the Western Upland. The small population that exists in the Valley is largely restricted to a small area of central St. Croix County. The largest population occurs near the village of Roberts in T. 29 N., R. 18 W.; T. 29 N., R. 17 W.; and T. 30 N., R. 17 W. Distribution of the population in the Minnesota counties is poorly known, although Mettler (1977) showed that the species range included southern Washington County. McCabe and Hawkins (1946) reported a population density of 0.6 coveys per 62 km in St. Croix County.

Habitat: The gray partridge is primarily a species of croplands and adjoining edge habitat. Preferred habitats include corn and oats fields, weedy edges of summer fallow, and remnant patches of native prairie along railroad rights-of-way that border agricultural fields.

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