Bird Trackers

What’s Happening to the Pheasants?

Story and Photos by Kris Millgate

I’m shooting footage of a haystack, but not for a farm story. I’m after something wild.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist Curtis Hendricks stands on top of the stack about twenty feet above me. I tip up my lens at an awkward angle, thankful the summer sun is at my back, and focus on Hendricks. He swiftly swings an antenna back and forth in his hand, looking like a guy desperate to tune into the big game on TV. He picks up a signal, but not for the big game. It’s for a bird. He’s looking for wild pheasants.

“I truly believe these birds will make it,” Hendricks says while turning the antenna to track the radio-collared pheasants. “Hopefully all of them. And for those that might not make it, we’ll have some answers as to what happened.”

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