On the morning of Saturday, December 14, 2002, while I was participating in the La
Crosse CBC I stopped my truck on the side of the road
along the edge of a field of corn stubble. I almost
immediately spotted a Ring-necked Pheasant rooster
about 30 yards away. When I got out to make sure there were no
others, and to look and listen for whatever else might
be around, he hunkered down among the
stubble trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.
The next time I looked in that direction however, he was half
way to me and headed my way. I returned to scanning
the distant bluffs and fields and figured he must have
been a released bird. When he ended up on the
roadside at my feet I thought I'd better get a picture
of him as proof of what I saw. He was very
cooperative and posed eagerly, all the while making
sounds that were much more dove-like than pheasant-like.
Then, when I went to lean across the seat to put the
camera back into the truck, I felt him jump onto the
back of my leg as if he was attempting to enter
the truck with me. I instinctively shook him off and managed
to get into the cab - alone.
As I drove off he was down next to the truck doing a
roadrunner imitation for the first 50 yards or so
alongside. He finally veered off into the field to
avoid another approaching truck.
Turns out that he was not only a very tame bird, but
had also probably been imprinted on humans, though now
he was living in very typical pheasant habitat.
Needless to say, Fred Lesher and Rick Kinzie, organizers of the La Crosse CBC, did not let me "officially" count him.