Canadian photographer R. John Knight shares the stories behind some of his nature and wildlife images

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gray Partridge - A Winter Visitor to our Backyard

Although apparently year-around inhabitants at our latitude and location, we tend to see Gray Partridges in our backyard only during the winter months when they come to forage seed left  on the ground beneath our bird feeder.

Beautiful plumage
Heading off to look for seeds under the bird feeder
When they arrived this year, there were six.  By the end of winter, only two came.  The reduced number may be the result of predation by Coyotes which frequent our neighborhood periodically during the winter.

The Gray Partridge tend to be very nervous feeders.  If they spot you watching them, they immediately head for cover beneath a nearby Juniper bush, or scurry one at a time to the perceived safety beneath a Spruce tree.  About half of the time, they simply fly-off.  Once they settle in and begin feeding, they mine the ground surface beneath snow-cover in a somewhat mechanical systematic way by moving their head from side to side.

Hiding under Spruce tree
Three heads are better than one?
If it's a sunny day, you might find them nestled in shallow depressions that they've dug with their feet in the warm soil next to a south-facing wall for short periods.
These partridge were introduced to North America from Eurasia in the early 1900's.

Proper Name:  Perdix perdix
Food:  seeds; ground forager 
Length:  11.8–13 in (30–33 cm) 
Wingspan:  20.9–22 in (53–56 cm) 
Weight:  13.6–17.6 oz  (385–500 g) 
Habitat:  cultivated fields and grasslands 
Range:  year-around, predominantly west to central parts of southern Canada & northern USA


  1. Good Morning John;

    Again, stunning pictures.
    Thank you for sharing them with John & I.

    All the best to you & Sherrill.



  2. Thank you, Ruth. Knowing that others enjoy seeing my images makes sharing them worthwhile.