The Minnesota DNR is always conducting various studies on wildlife.

One of those studies currently happening is one involving nesting habits of pheasants.

"It's a study on reproductive aspects of pheasants," explained Lindsey Messinger from the DNR.  "We are looking at where pheasants are selecting to put their nests, the vegetation associated with those, how well the nests do so do they hatch or does something else happen to them and then we are also interested in what happens to the chicks after they hatch."

Pheasants are a little bit unusual compared to your typical bird as they nest different than other birds, raise their young different and stay in Minnesota year around while others opt fly south.

"First and foremost pheasants need grass," said Messinger.  "We know grass on the landscape is important for pheasants so things like wildlife management areas, private lands, grasslands are important so things like the conservation reserve program are really important for pheasants."

For the study, DNR officials measure the vegetation around and near the nest.

The goal is to find out why pheasants choose the site they do to build their nests, whether that's for protective reasons or something else.

After eggs have either hatched or been eaten by a predator, DNR officials take note as they want to find out how many birds on average make it through to birth compared to eggs that have been compromised.

"A lot of people enjoy spending time in the fall hunting these birds so if we can do anything, if we can learn how to best manage our grasslands for pheasants and for other grassland birds that need habitats similar to pheasants I think that's the real importance of the work we're doing," said Messinger.

Now that the DNR is learning which grasslands pheasants like more than others, it will help them provide and maintain grasslands to cater to them, hopefully increasing the population.

--KEYC News 12