Gray Partridge

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image: Partridge.jpg

Common Name: Gray Partridge
Scientific Name: Perdix perdix

Size: 12-13 inches (30-33 cm)

Habitat: Eurasia; introduced to North America (along flat areas of the Canadian/US border). Found in flat agricultural areas.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 5,000,000 - 10,000,000 mature individuals. Populations have been slowly declining. The numbers have fallen by 85% in the last 25 years in Great Britain. Efforts are being made to halt the decline by creating Conservation headlands. In 1995 it was nominated a Biodiversity Action plan species.

Diet: Seeds, fruits, flowers, and insects.

Breeding: Clutch size can range up to 22 eggs, and averages 16 to 18. Chicks can leave the nest almost immediately and feed themselves. Chicks eat mostly insects during their first weeks of life.

Cool Facts: Gray Partridge hens produce some of the largest clutches of any bird species ranging up to 22 eggs.

A partridge in a pear tree? “In Middle English pertriche "partridge," was derived from Perdix, one of Athene's sacred kings, thrown in the seas from a tower, and carried to heaven in the form of a bird by his goddess. He was the partridge, she the pear tree. Athena was worshipped in Boeotia as Once, the Pear Tree, mother of all pear trees. Perdix, whose name originally meant "the Lost One," was a form of Vishnu-Narayana, called Lord of the Pear Trees in his holy city of Badrinath in the Himalayas (from badri, "pear tree"). The pear tree had a feminine-masculine significance through Eurasia. It was also sacred to Hera, whose oldest image at Heraeum in Mycenae was made of pear wood. European peasants considered the pear a favorite "life-tree" for a girl. In Russia pears were used as protective charms for cows. It seems that when the partridge in a pear tree was made into a Christmas carol the symbol of Christ was substituted for Perdix. “ (Encyclopedia Mythica, Alan G. Hefner)


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