Re: [EXT] Re: [hmbirds] Pheasant

Larry & Penny Alden

As compiler of both the club’s Century Run and two local CBC’s, I can give you the following rules. 

For CBC’s, we would count these species, since they were seen. It would be with a nod and a wink, though. Hey, the former compiler for the Catskills-Coxsackie CBC counted Egyptian Goose for one of those counts. I believe he may have been suffering from temporary insanity that year. He was going to count some barnyard fowl, too, that year but was shouted down at the compilation. Ok. I made that last part up. 

The rules for the Century Run are a little more flexible and up to me s compiler.  I wouldn’t count them myself, and would probably take into account the specifics of where they were seen and what their behavior was before considering anyone else’s sighting. 

Larry Alden

On Jan 16, 2021, at 12:18 PM, emberiza_tristrami <tristanlowery@...> wrote:

Like Zach said, “countability” for competitive listing is an entirely different matter from the citizen science purposes of eBird. I’m not a compiler for any of the local competitive birding events (viz., the Century Run, the Fun Run, etc.), but I have been a participant and it seems to me that each contest has its own rules for what can be counted. If everyone is following the same standard for each event, everything should be fair. Going back to Jeff’s original question, Ring-necked Pheasant is on the Fun Run list, so its participants seem to have agreed that species can be counted when encountered regardless of provenance, meaning that everyone involved has an equal chance to add that species to their total. On the other hand, I’ve encountered Northern Bobwhite on the Century Run, which my team did not count, as it’s understood they’re either escapees from captivity or introduced gamebirds in our area. I’m not sure if there’s an official Century Run rule on Ring-necked Pheasant though.


I’ve never seen a pheasant on a Christmas Bird Count and can’t recall their mention in any compilation I’ve ever attended, so I’m not sure how they should be treated. If they are observed on a local CBC, it seems they are surviving in the wild at that moment, regardless of provenance and however temporarily, and should be recorded. But maybe not. Perhaps some of the CBC compilers can weigh in on how pheasant reports have been handled historically.

Tristan Lowery


On Sat, Jan 16, 2021 at 11:30 AM zach schwartz-weinstein <zachsw@...> wrote:
I cannot speak for CBCs but eBird reviewers don’t generally use countability to evaluate whether a sighting can be confirmed.  (There are exceptions to this, like when a sighting is rejected by a state rarities committee.).  But even then, eBird generally wants the reports regardless of whether the birds are countable or even confirmable.  Upstate reports of Northern Bobwhite, for instance, are generally marked Unconfirmed by reviewers because it is an introduced species to this area and it isn’t forming self-sustaining wild populations, but those unconfirmed records are still useful for and searchable by researchers who are tracking introduced populations.  Individual eBird users never need to worry about whether a bird is countable before reporting it, unless you’re doing something like eBirding hornbills in a glass enclosure at the Bronx Zoo.  “Countability” is a separate concern for competitive listing. 

On Sat, Jan 16, 2021 at 11:21 AM Ellen Pemrick <lnmp@...> wrote:

With regard to CBCs and eBird – NOT the Breeding Bird Atlas – isn’t it presumptuous to assume that the observer will know that a Ring-Necked Pheasant isn’t “countable”?  I saw  my first pheasant in Nova Scotia many years ago, and honestly, I haven’t the slightest idea whether it was a “wild”/breeding or “introduced” bird.




From: <> On Behalf Of emberiza_tristrami
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2021 7:17 PM
To: zach schwartz-weinstein <zachsw@...>
Cc: Scott Varney <scottvarney1968@...>; HMBirds <>; John Kent <k2ent76@...>; Will Raup <hoaryredpoll@...>
Subject: Re: [EXT] Re: [hmbirds] Pheasant


In 2020, the first year of the third New York State Breeding Bird Atlas, a “remarkably scant population of volunteer observers” of over 1,500 individuals submitted over 100,000 checklists that covered 73 percent of the state’s geographical area. Again, this is the third such five-year atlas conducted in the state, following up on efforts carried out from 1980-1985 and 2000-2005 – hardly “too short a time frame”.


To suggest that breeding bird atlas efforts such as the one currently taking place in New York are “inconsistent” or “inconclusive” is incorrect and misleading.


Tristan Lowery



On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 7:15 PM zach schwartz-weinstein <zachsw@...> wrote:

The breeding bird atlas is not “ completely based on observational data by a remarkably scant population of volunteer observers.”  There is a concrete set of requirements for the completion of each priority atlas block.  This includes exhaustive coverage of each habitat zone within a block.  It is unlikely that a great number of Ring-Necked Pheasants was simply missed in previous atlases, and it is similarly unlikely in the present atlas.  (Speaking of which, I’m one of the regional coordinators for the Third Atlas, and we do need people to sign up and cover priority blocks, especially in areas like Warren and Fulton County, which didn’t get a ton of coverage last year.  You can do so at 


On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 7:01 PM Scott Varney <scottvarney1968@...> wrote:

Could you define "locally"?   I'd love to see the data that supports this conclusion. The Breeding Bird Atlas is completely based on observational data by a remarkably scant population of olunteer observers.  I am thankful for the contributions of these participating observers, but there are way too many uncovered areas over too short a time frame to support a conclusion such as this.  Scientific conclusions such as this have been proven historically inconsistent.  Perhaps it is more prudent to respect "that the possibility of breeding populations of Ring-necked Pheasant within our local region is within reason" or that "Our data on the breeding  populations of the Ring-necked Pheasant within our local region is inconclusive in determining the viability of a known breeding population."




Scott Varney

Salem, NY


On Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 4:56 PM Will Raup <hoaryredpoll@...> wrote:

We actually do.  It is called the breeding bird atlas.


There are no sustainable wild populations of Pheasants locally anymore.


Will Raup




Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone




-------- Original message --------

From: Scott Varney <scottvarney1968@...>

Date: 1/15/21 4:23 PM (GMT-05:00)

To: John Kent <k2ent76@...>

Cc: HMBirds <>

Subject: Re: [EXT] Re: [hmbirds] Pheasant


I completely agree with Tom's sentiments on this topic. At best, we have no real info on "wild" breeding vs non-breeding populations.  They should be counted as similarly as Starlings.  


Scott Varney

Salem, NY


On Fri, Jan 15, 2021, 10:38 AM John Kent <k2ent76@...> wrote:

Bull's Birds of New York State, published in 1974 and updated in 1998, says that Ring-necked Pheasant bred widely in the Great Lakes Plain, and to a somewhat lesser extent in the Hudson Valley and on Long Island. They declined severely in the 1940s, the recovered and reached a peak in the late 1960s. Since then, habitat loss and predation caused another decline. Starting around 1980, the state released many each year for hunting. The impact of the released birds on "wild" populations is negligible, as fewer than 5% survive to the following spring.

My understanding is that since this was written, they have been extirpated as breeders in the Hudson Valley.

John Kent

On 1/15/2021 9:05 AM, emberiza_tristrami wrote:

The difference is starlings aren't regularly restocked in the wild for hunting. It's not likely that pheasant populations would survive on their own in most, if not all of New York State without this intervention.


Tristan Lowery




On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 8:59 AM Tom Lake via <> wrote:

The Ring-necked Pheasant seems to be a sticker for some as to counting in CBCs.


We count Starlings. Is there a difference?


With fish we count carp.


With trees we count the London plane.


With reptiles we count Red-eared Sliders.


Am I missing something?


Tom Lake

-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Mason <andymason@...>
Sent: Thu, Jan 14, 2021 9:04 pm
Subject: Re: [EXT] Re: [hmbirds] Pheasant

Our rule of thumb with pheasants on the NJ World Series of Birding was to hold a hand out toward it.  If the bird came toward you, don't count it; if it walked away, check it off.  Not terribly scientific!

Andy Mason

On 1/14/2021 6:33 PM, zach schwartz-weinstein wrote:

Well, all Ring-necked pheasants in North America are descendents of artificially introduced birds, but the species is established and countable in New York.  For ABA purposes, this pheasant is probably not countable because it can reasonably be separated from wild, naturally occurring members of its species due to its location at a release site.  However, it can and should still be reported to eBird, where researchers can specifically search for introduced and exotic birds.


On Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 6:25 PM Jeffrey Schoonmaker <j.schoonmaker@...> wrote:

So, are we not allowed to "count" them?  I was pretty excited to see one.  I'm embarrassed if everyone knows they are artificially introduced and therefore nothing to get excited about.


From: <> on behalf of Lindsey Duval <lindsey.duval@...>
Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2021 6:14 PM
To: zach schwartz-weinstein <zachsw@...>
Cc: Jeffrey Schoonmaker <j.schoonmaker@...>; HMBirds <>
Subject: [EXT] Re: [hmbirds] Pheasant


EXTERNAL EMAIL: This email originated from a source outside HVCC. Do not click any links or open any attachments unless you trust the sender and know the content is safe.


Well look what I found, this link shows that the pheasants are released in the Washington County State Forest, which I presume to be that trail on Blackhouse Rd as our hotspot holds that same name, for youth hunts:


I swear there used to be a release further up on Rt 41 in Kingsbury/Smith's Basin ages ago as well but that was word-of-mouth.


On Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 5:51 PM zach schwartz-weinstein <zachsw@...> wrote:

I believe the state releases them there for hunters.  (Or so a ranger told me once when he saw me walking along the new trail and mistook my scope for a firearm.)


On Thu, Jan 14, 2021 at 5:49 PM Jeffrey Schoonmaker <j.schoonmaker@...> wrote:

Found a Ring-necked Pheasant walking across the front lawn of house #323 on Blackhouse Rd. at the F. E. Grslnds at 3:27 p.m. today.

As of 4:35 p.m., no Short-eared Owls were showing up for the 10 car loads of hopeful folks waiting in the Plum Rd. Theater parking area.


Jeff Schoonmaker


Zach Schwartz-Weinstein
203 500 7774


Zach Schwartz-Weinstein
203 500 7774


Andrew Mason
13 Boylston St.
Oneonta, NY  13820
(607) 652-2162



Zach Schwartz-Weinstein
203 500 7774

Zach Schwartz-Weinstein
203 500 7774

Join to automatically receive all group messages.