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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 30, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 20 THE LETH8RIDQE HERALD Saturday, November 30, 1974 Mideast oil wealth investors eye Canada Destruction of habitat harmful to pheasant B> DENNIS MCDONALD AJberta Fish and Wildlife 18th of 45 A pheasant's home is called its habitat Nothing is more harmful to the long term welfare of pheasants populations than destruction of their habitat. Fewer homes mean fewer pheasants it is as simple as that1 Unfortunately, pheasants are not as adaptable as people. They will not simply move in and live with their neighbors if their home is Mackasey lauds police and firemen TORONTO (CP) Post- master General Bryce ?vlackasey says that adverse publicity given by the news media to the "odd bad character" in police and fire departments results in damage to the reputation of colleagues "Collectively, police and firemen across the country take a terrible beating from the Mr. Mackasey said. "The tendency in this day and age is to smear everyone collectively, which is unfair." He was speaking to a recep- tion where he later gave Metropolitan Toronto police, fire and postal officials awards for fighting the recent S2 million fire in Toronto's downtown post office. Mr. Mackasey said heavier damage to mail and postal equipment was prevented by quick action. The postmaster general said postal workers are under- paid and not appreciated enough. bulldozed down. Pheasant habitat consists of areas of grass, weeds, brush, cattails and other types of natural cover intermingled with farmland. Studies indicate pheasants thrive when 15 per cent of the land is natural cover interspersed throughout crop and pastureland. When the proportion of "wild land" diminishes; or its vegetative cover changes due to land use activities, pheasant numbers change as well. A recent study of the phea- sant decline in Montana il- lustrates the impact of habitat losses upon pheasant pop- ulations. Since 1950, much cropland, especially in irrigation areas, has been converted to alfalfa or ranchland. Alfalfa is ex- tremely attractive nesting cover and thousands of pheasants select alfalfa fields to lay their eggs. Unfor- tunately, early mowing prevents successful nesting in these fields. Many incubating hens are destroyed along with their eggs by the mowing machinery. In former times, natural haylands remained undisturbed until after peak hatching in mid June as grasses ripen over a longer period than alfalfa. Excellent pheasant production was possible from such areas. Cattle numbers almost doubled in many areas in Mon- tana since 1950. The resultant of intensive grazing of grain and alfalfa stubble, irrigation ditches and idle land seriously reduced food and shelter for pheasants. Farm numbers decreased 31 per cent and average farm size increased 49 per cent in the state during the period 1950 1970. Fewer but larger farms usually result in the destruction of fence rows to form fewer but larger fields. Hundreds of cat- tail marshes and wetland areas have been drained and cultivated, further increasing habitat losses. Agriculturally idle areas are being reduced. They decreased by 15 per cent in only four years on a study area in North Central Mon- tana. Hundreds of miles of shelterbelts planted during 1920 1940 have matured and become decadent. Others, have been heavily browsed and destroyed by livestock. Few replacement shelterbelts have been planted. The net result of these and other habitat losses due to sub division, highway and road construction, weed and brush control, right of way bur- ning, irrigation works and other activities has been a 90- 95 per cent decline in pheasant numbers in Montana since 1950. The situation in Alberta and elsewhere throughout North American pheasant range is similar. A recent attempt to map the distribution of remaining pheasant habitat in the Lethbridge area from 1970 aerial photography failed because most of the natural cover evident on the photographs no longer exists today! Pheasant habitat is the key to the continued survival of the bird. Good pheasant habitat can effectively reduce bird losses due to many of the mortality factors previously outlined in this series: climate, predation, disease and hunting. Unless remaining habitat areas are preserved and new habitat areas are developed, the housing shortage for pheasants may well make this bird a rare resident of our future Alberta landscape. Next week: Impact of Irrigation Farming Upon Pheasant Habitat THE CERTIFIED GENERAL ACCOUNTANT DESIGNATION WHAT IS IT? a highly respected iifle. the holder as a professional accountant in financial management. HOW DO YOU GET IT? iuaduatmK from a course of sUidv offeree) hv the Certified General 'Vcountants You must have M bonl or eqimaleni sMndini? although under