Roads take deadly toll on the UK pheasants

Shaun Ferguson

Pheasants the bird species hit most of the beats on UK roads, research.

There was a strong increase in the number of pheasants reared for shooting in Britain in the last 50 years.

The study, which says, in the Royal Society Open Science journal that these captive-bred pheasants are 12 times more likely than other types to end up as road kill.

University of Exeter researchers pheasants found most of them were likely to be killed on the roads in the fall and in the spring.The changing of the seasons

A better understanding of what the scale of road kill among pheasants, the researchers examined data from the early 1960s and the modern era. Fifty years ago there were far fewer of the species that bred in the UK and the majority of them were wild.

Now, experts estimate that about 35 million pheasants are bred for the shooting industry in the UK each year.

Between 2013 and 2016, 38.1% of the reported road kill birds were pheasants.

Bev Milne

Fifty years ago, the worst time for road collisions with pheasants in the breeding season in early summer. This has changed significantly, say the authors, and the result in a certain amount of breeding in captivity.

“We see the spike in road kill in October. This is the time when the captive-bred birds begin to disperse from their new release pins,” said Dr. Joah Madden of the University of Exeter who led the study.

“Because you were reared in the absence of an adult, you have nobody to show you how they live, and so they run around and are killed, you have no prior experience.”

Dr. Madden says that there is also a second peak in March or April. He believes that this is because commercial shoots food for the birds, put out during the season. If the ends, so the food supply has. The birds forage more widely, and at the end of a hit by the traffic.

While the researchers had expected to see an increase in the proportion of pheasants killed, they were surprised to find, it has been found, in accordance with the rate of wear in the 1960s.

The experts suspect that changes in the behavior of the gamekeeper in relation to the feeding and keeping the birds off of the streets can kill the limit on the level of the road.

Getty Images

A natural behavior, and other factors are also likely to play a role in the further slaughter, with the chances of the pheasants almost 12 killed on the streets of times higher than their proportion of the bird population would justify.

“It can be, to do, with their little brains, but it is mainly with the fact that they are mainly terrestrial,” said Dr. Madden.

“You are not the world’s best pilot, and I think the numbers are reported killed, because they are easily spotted in its magnificent plumage.”

Despite the fierce on the figures, which Dr. Madden says pheasants are there in the UK would, even if they were not bred for the shoot.

The research team used road kill data from “citizen science” – group, project-Splatter.

“Our work shows how changes in the behavior of animals by road kill data reported by members of the public, and the value of “citizen science,” said Dr. Sarah from Cardiff University, is coordinating the project.

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