Provision of brood-rearing cover on agricultural land to increase survival of wild ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus broods at Seefeld Estate, Lower Austria, Austria.
Wild ringed-necked pheasants Phasianus colchicus have declined throughout their naturalized European range as a result of habitat loss and a reduction in food resources on farmland. To ameliorate the reduction in chick food availability on arable farmland, 'brood-rearing' seed mixtures (to provide insect-rich foraging areas) were sown on rotational set-aside on a large commercial farming estate in Lower Austria during 2001-2003. The use of these areas by wild pheasant broods and their effect on brood survival was determined by radio-telemetry. Areas of planted brood-rearing cover were positively selected by pheasant broods and survival rates were highest amongst broods which incorporated these brood rearing areas into their home ranges.