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Paul the pheasant livens up Grand Forks neighborhood

A rooster pheasant wandering the streets of Grand Forks the past couple of months has been the cock of the walk wherever he makes an appearance. Tim Pasley, who lives in central Grand Forks nowhere near traditional pheasant country, said he first...

The rooster pheasant Grand Forks homeowner Tim Pasley named Paul in honor of a pheasant hunting buddy struts his stuff Saturday afternoon, April 1. (Photo/ Greg Mattson, special to the Herald)
The rooster pheasant Grand Forks homeowner Tim Pasley named Paul in honor of a pheasant hunting buddy struts his stuff Saturday afternoon, April 1. (Photo/ Greg Mattson, special to the Herald)

A rooster pheasant wandering the streets of Grand Forks the past couple of months has been the cock of the walk wherever he makes an appearance.

Tim Pasley, who lives in central Grand Forks nowhere near traditional pheasant country, said he first saw the pheasant a couple of months ago, and the bird shows up about once a week.

Another reader, Barb Kueber, shared a photo that ran on Page A2 of Monday's paper.

"It was like every week I'd see him come by," Pasley said. "I have a birdfeeder in the front yard so he'd go and eat bird feed that would fall to the ground, so I've seen him quite a few times."

Pasley, who lives near Red River High School, says his family named the rooster Paul, in honor of a friend who's an avid pheasant hunter.

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Pasley posted photos of the pheasant on Facebook early this winter, and another friend, Greg Mattson, saw the shots and brought Pasley some corn to feed the rooster.

Mattson, an avid photographer, also wanted to photograph the pheasant and got his chance Saturday afternoon when the rooster showed up in Pasley's yard.

"I just walked out on my deck, and he was right there by the tree by the house," Pasley said. "I threw some corn at him. He didn't run off; he just slowly walked away.

"He didn't seem too concerned, and he walked across the street and about a half hour or 45 minutes later, he's back again."

The rooster was still there when Mattson showed up about 15 minutes later. Just like the cock of the walk he is, the pheasant now is resplendent in his full breeding plumage.

"Just by the looks of it, he doesn't seem to have had many tussles at all," Pasley said. Unlike wild roosters looking for a mate, the pheasant hasn't done any crowing-not in Pasley's neighborhood, at least.

"I have not seen him fly; he just runs," Pasley said. "When we first saw him, he wasn't nearly as colorful as he is now. As of this weekend, he was absolutely stunning."

Marty Egeland, outreach biologist for the state Game and Fish Department in Thompson, N.D., says the rooster could be an escapee from the Dakota Hunting Club and Kennels game farm west of Grand Forks or from a local dog trainer who has released hundreds of pheasants the past three years on private land near Kellys Slough National Wildlife Refuge.

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Northeast North Dakota doesn't have enough grassland habitat for wild pheasants to thrive. But for now, at least, Paul the pheasant is finding city limits to his liking.

"It's just fun," Pasley said. "It's one of those things where you get up and there he is."

A rooster pheasant has been making the rounds the past couple of months in a neighborhood near Red River High School, and Greg Mattson of Grand Forks was able to photograph the pheasant Saturday afternoon. (Photo/ Greg Mattson, special to the Herald)
A rooster pheasant has been making the rounds the past couple of months in a neighborhood near Red River High School, and Greg Mattson of Grand Forks was able to photograph the pheasant Saturday afternoon. (Photo/ Greg Mattson, special to the Herald)

Related Topics: WILDLIFE
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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