...Well this past Saturday was "release day" so Donnie and I drove up to the ranch and met up with his Dad to begin banding and releasing the 60 pheasants into the wild...?!
We only lost 3 chicks in all this time, a testament to the Surrogator's design; along his Dads' "weekly checkups" to make sure feed/water/and heater was continuously working?
We were careful to wear soft gloves and handle them as gently yet quickly as possible. We also all wore dark long sleeved shirts and barely spoke during the process. We laid a dark blanket over the screened area as well; to not further stress the birds; seeing us 'band and release' and move about.
Donnie and his Dad handled the birds while I stood in the middle and banded for both; as they caught and released them into the surrounding cover. They flew strong and some went great distances before leaving our sight.
All in all it took us less than 20 minutes to band and release all 60 ...(10 of them 'released themselves' unbanded)?!
..Lastly, we removed the Surrogator and took it back to the barn to begin cleaning and bleaching the interior, in preperation for the second-brood of 60; due to be placed inside starting Tuesday. A new release site was prepared in the river-bottom and another release of 60 will follow next month...
Hopefully these released pheasant will not only be visible and several roosters taken this season, but the hens might mate with their wild cousins in the area; and provide an abundant reproductive population ...into the future?