Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Single Banded Foot--Update

Thanks to all who responded to my plea for help in A Single Banded Foot.

Unfortunately the identification problem posed is more difficult than I'd hoped. My local expert, the ever-helpful Terry Sprague, compares identification based on a foot to identification based on a single feather. My search for foot references has come up, well, sketchy. Best source so far has been Olaus J. Murie's A Field Guide to Animal Tracks.

But I have had a couple of positive suggestions. First a commenter on the blog has suggested that the bands look like the kind a breeder would put on domestic birds, followed by the suggestion that this foot might belong to a pheasant. The breeder band idea was seconded by another commenter. Murie's field guide lends some credence to the pheasant suggestion, but perhaps best of all, I showed the foot to my uncle, a former hunter of game birds, and his comment was, "Pheasant, isn't it?" He wasn't at all sure, but he has had (long ago) experience handling pheasants and that was what the foot brought to mind. (Ring-necked pheasants run wild in Ontario, as well as being raised domestically--they are native to Eurasia and introduced to North America--in some areas populations are maintained in the wild artificially.) I haven't often seen one in the wild, if ever really. The last time I remember seeing pheasants was the time I saw two ambling along across lawns in a well-to-do neighbourhood in Edmonton, Alberta.

It is still possible that more information will come my way--Terry Sprague and a member of the Eastern Ontario Nature List are passing on the mystery to others who may know something more about either the foot or the bands...I will post again if and when I know more.

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