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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 21, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, September LETHBRIDGE Keep insect population down pheasant chicks eat insects for the first five to six weeks after hatching Newborn pheasant chicks comical but precocious By DENNIS McDONALD Alberta Fish and Wildlife Eighth of a series Newborn pheasant chicks are a sight to behold a short beak poking out of a one ounce ball of wet fluff perched precariously on top of two spindly legs. Yet, despite their comical' appearance, pheasant chicks are extremely precocious. Within a few hours of birth, they will leave the nest and start feeding on their own. Within one week, they will be capable of short flights. Though a hen requires an average of two weeks to lay her complete clutch of eggs, all hatching in the nest occurs over a few hours. This is because the hen does not start incubating the clutch until it is complete. Though broods commonly contain eight to 17 chicks, the average brood con- tains ten chicks. Shortly after hatching, the hen ushers her brood to areas where insects provide an abundant, protein rich food supply. Weedy areas, roadside ditches and croplands provide favored sites for brood rear- ing during the first five to six weeks of life when the chicks feed almost exclusively on insects. Wide spread applications of insecticides may diminish this food supply and cause residues to accumulate in chicks from the dead insects they consume. Pheasant chicks are covered with down for several days after hatching and, as this coat affords them litUe protection from cold, wet weather, many die from ex- posure during inclement weather after hatching. Though some hatching occurs from May through late August, more than half of all broods are born during three weeks in June. As outlined in an earlier ar- ticle, poor weather during the hatching peak can drastically reduce chick production and survival. This factor is largely responsible for Alberta's most recent pheasant decline. Hens remain with their broods for eight to 12 weeks after hatching and, if the brood is destroyed, the hen will not re nest. Re nesting among pheasants only occurs if the nest is destroyed during egg laying or incubation. A few days after hatching, drab juvenile plumage begins to replace the natal down but both sexes still look alike. The flight feathers or primaries develop sufficiently to permit short flights after one week. Chicks undergo- prolonged moulting during their first year of life and, at about four weeks, adult plumage begins to replace juvenile plumage. By eight weeks, young cocks show colored feathers on their breasts and necks and they can be readily distinguished from hens. By 21 weeks, the final moult to adult plumage is complete and it is almost impossible to tell the young of the year birds from adult birds on the basis of plumage alone. During the first six to 10 weeks after hatching, approx- imately 35 per cent of the chicks will die due to ac- cidents, exposure to harsh weather, predation and other factors. These losses occur despite the maternal care shown by the hens for their broods. Hens will frequently adopt chicks that have strayed from or lost their own mother. Brood mixing commonly oc- curs and frequently, hens will be seen with large broods comprised of pheasant chicks of various ages. These broods contain adopted chicks; they do not indicate the batching of a second brood by the hen in one year. Studies have shown that hens will probably abandon their nests if they see or hear other hens with chicks while nesting. Following nest aban- donment, they will commonly accompany the other hen and her brood. This behavioral characteristic may explain why less than half the hens successfully hatch a brood of their own in any given year. Unlike hens, roosters re- main aloof from the chores of brood rearing. If a hen is killed, the brood must shift for itself or be adopted by other hens for only on rare oc- casions is a cock observed caring for a brood. After eating insects almost exclusively for five weeks, juvenile pheasants gradually shif their diet to include an increasing amount of greenery, plant seeds and g ain. By 14 weeks, the birds v aigh between IVa and two F junds and growth declines as iult weights are reached. Cover utilization by the L rds is extensive at this time as they move from roosting areas to feeding areas and loafing areas during their dai- ly routine of activity- Li next weeks article, we will examine this routine in detail. Next week: Daily activities of pheasants Indian Act amendments not likely soon, says Buchanan OTTAWA (CP) Amendments to the Indian Act are not likely to be introduced at this session of Parliament, a spokesman for Indian Af- fairs Minister Judd Buchanan said Friday. The government pledged several years ago not to make changes in the act without full consultation with Indians, and National Indian Brotherhood was given a grant to enable it to hold meetings across the country to see if a consensus could be reached. A National Indian Brotherhood meeting in Van- couver last month was given a draft of the proposed changes. A revised version is to be by handed to Mr. Buchanan the end of October. One of the changes proposed by the Alberta Indian Association, which is carrying out the project on behalf of the national group, is to deny welfare to able-bodied Indians unless they put in 35 hours of work on their reserves each week. Poker helped pass time for captives HOUSTON, Tex. (AP) Four geologists held hostage for almost six months in the wilds of Ethiopia said they passed the time by playing "non-stop poker" and plotting escapes. The men were captured March 26 by armed Ethiopian rebels and held captive in a rugged mountain area. Their release was negotiated by Tenneco Oil Co., an energy and minerals com- pany with headquarters here. Conducting a geological sur- vey for Tenneco when they were captured by the revolutionaries, they were re- leased Sept. 11 and arrived here last week. At a news conference this week, the four said they en- dured primitive conditions for months, sleeping on the ground in huts under close guard, without any certainty they would ever be released. The four geologists are: Powers Cayce, 36, of Plain- view, Tex.; William Rogers, 50, of Greenwich, Conn.; Clif- ford James, 27, of Walkerton, Ont., and Motta Tavella, 52, of San Francisco. Tavella, an American citizen with landed-immigrant status in Canada who once liv- ed in Vancouver, was working for the United Nations in Ethiopia. The group was the last of eight hostages released by the guerrillas. A Dutch nurse taken with the group was killed. Among the group released several months ago was Donald Wederfort, 27, of Calgary. The uncertainty, said Cayce, "was one of the hardest parts of the whole ordeal." "At one time, we played 120 days of non-stop said James. "I had never before played much poker, but I learned a lot about the game. We played with money and Bill Cayce came away with most of it." They also played chess, us- ing a checkerboard drawn on a piece of cloth and rocks for the pieces, he said. The men said they spent much of their captivity in a steep-sided canyon guarded at both ends. Despite the odds, toward the end they began "entertaining thoughts of es- said Cayce. TheToyola Econo-Miser Drive The Toyota Econo-Miser has come up with this fantastic contest. It's al! to do with gasoline mileage and you don't just enter it. you take part in it. And there are some pretty sensational prizes. On November 4th. at the Mosport Park Track, near Toronto. Walter Boyce and Doug Woods, our National Rally Champions, will put 10 gallons of regular gas in a Toyota Corolla 1200. And they'll drive around the track until it's all gone. What you have to do is estimate how many miles they'll travel on the 10 gallons. If yours is the closest estimate (to the tenth of a you can win a Toyota Corolla 1200 KE020KB or up to cash for being runner-up in each of 5 regions across Canada. Winners will be selected from the Maritimes. Quebec, Ontario. Prairies and British Columbia The five people who win Toyotas will be invited to be our guests on an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Toronto to compete in the Toyota Econo-Miser Drive Run-Off at Mosport Park, for a further in prize money It's fun. it's exciting, it's rewarding. Enter now. at your participating Toyota dealer. He's got all the contest details and a free booklet with some tips to help you win. and some tips on how to get more miles from your gasoline dollar. So even if you don't win. you don't lose. TOYOTA See how much car your money can buy. Check !rie Yel'ow ihe Toyota dealer nearest you CONTEST CLOSES OCTOBER 26. 1974 46th ANNUAL B.P.O. ELKS CARNIVAL TONIGHT AT P.M. ADAMS ICE PARK CENTRE 9th Ave. and 13th Street North, Lethbridge ALL PROCE -OS TO LETHBRIDGE ELKS CHARITIES FREE ADMISSION TO CARNIVAL GRAND PRIZE CASH 2nd PRIZE CASH Tickets: Each ;