Outdoor Storytellers – Pheasantville

EWON, WASH. — Birds are known for coming and going as the seasons change, but for one area in the Inland Northwest, flocking birds are a year-round occurrence.

Nestled into the rolling hills of the Palouse, the adjacent towns of Ewon and St. John, Washington are well-known for their grain production.

Even though grain is their livelihood, these towns have a notorious bird collection.

Along many of the roads in these towns, signs like ‘fowl at play’ or ‘chick crossing,” are not unusual. People who live in the area are proud to call it “The Pheasant Capitol of Washington,” or the pheasant-belt.

“For the old-time farmers they’ll tell you if its going to be a good pheasant year for hunting or a bad year based on how many are actually getting run over on the roads,” on local resident said.

The pheasant are literally all over the two towns, and so are the more than 20-year-old signs.

“We had a mayor in town here, that’s no longer mayor but he still lives in the area, and it was kinda bugging him that there were so many birds that were hit on the road in August time. Harvest is going on and the birds are kinda out and pushed out of their habitat in the fields and cross the roads coming out and the pheasant chicks are out there,” one resident said. “Also it’s the time that WSU kids are starting to go back to school. So there’s a lot of high traffic.”

The grain harvest pushes the pheasants out of the fields and on to the roads, exactly when WSU students drive back to school. They head right through town, sometimes hitting birds, and leaving a fowl problem on the roadway.

“He (the former mayor) just wanted to bring awareness to traffic out there that these pheasant chicks are crossing the roads and for people to slow down a little bit,” the resident said. “It’s a unique thing here. A little ‘pheasant belt.’ It’s kind of a unique little thing for this area.”

Because of the amount of birds, residents in these two towns would like to remind people to slow down as they drive through. They would like to keep Pheasantville, Washington, as they call it, on the map for many years to come.