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A Bird Wanting to be Counted

By Lennie Lichter

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.

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