Ring-necked pheasants are an exotic species introduced to North America from Asia, and there have been numerous attempts to establish them in Vermont (pdf). I was surprised to find this fellow foraging in the rain next to a cornfield along Basin Harbor Road in Ferrisburgh.
In general, if you find these birds in Vermont they’re likely escapees from farms or game operations, and I’ve seen them near such places in Shoreham and Morristown. I’m unaware of any game farm closer to this location than Dead Creek in Addison, 10 miles to the south. I’m curious about whether the pheasants have established a breeding population that can survive multiple winters in this area, and whether they’re considered listable for ABA purposes in Vermont. Anybody know?