Although the ring-necked pheasant didn't hail from these parts originally, this colorful bird has made itself at home.
In 1881, a man from Oregon, Owen Nickerson Denny, changed the hunting heritage of this nation forever. Better known as Judge Denny, this former justice represented the young United States as consul general to China. While living there, the judge fell under the spell of the ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), a beautiful bird with an iridescent greenish-purple head, golden sunset body colors, blazing red wattles, and striking white collar band. Judge Denny shipped dozens of these brilliantly-colored agricultural game birds back to his home state over the course of his years in Asia. The introduced birds liked the American wild west and the rest, as they say, is history.
This article is from the Spring 2011 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.