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Monday, April 21, 2008

A surfiet of pheasants

For some reason a gorgeous cock pheasant has taken up residence in the garden in the early morning. I suspect it has to do with the little bits of grain left over from the hens and ducks. But I just jumped when he suddenly called outside my study window.
Yesterday, I kept seeing male pheasants when I took my dd to her riding lesson. I think I counted about a dozen all told, plus two dead on the road. There are pheasant shoots around here and so a pheasant or two is not a surprise, but so many! And all male. It is the starting of the breeding season and the plumage was magnificent.
I was reminded of the Roald Dahl story -- Danny Champion of the World where they go out pheasant poaching with gin soaked raisins. I think my favourite bit of the story is the interaction between the father and son. Unlike some of Dahl's work, my children did like the story. My eldest refused to have other books by him like The Witches in the house and used to suffer from nightmares. There are problems with active imaginations...
Pheasants are beautiful birds but it is rather unusual to see so many. When I first moved up to Northumberland, I used to see them regularly and then they disappeared for a while...but it is good to have them back as it were. Apparently you are not allowed to pick up any pheasant you hit on the road, but can pick one up that is dead...
Anne McAllister has moved on from trying to get ducks into a row and has chosen frogs as this year's symbol for getting everything pulled together. I have not idea about what it would like to drive pheasants...or is it beat? Several of my eldest's friends do occasionally work as beaters on shoots.
Anyway, we do seem to have a wider variety of bird life in area and this is good. As there are red kites further down the Tyne Valley, I am hopeful that we will get several over the garden.

2 comments:

Donna Alward said...

LOL! At our new locale, there is a pheasant population. The male is nicknamed Phil. I really felt at home when we got back to our hosts and said we were late because we stopped to see Phil the Pheasant!

Anonymous said...

Where I live we too have "100's" of phesants last year especially. One morning I heard a whistle being blown, and went to have a look - it was the local farmer whistling for the phesants - they were calling them in for breakfast! Turns out that they had bred hundreds of them for shooting and were rearing/feeding them up pending the shooting season. On one day alone I counted over 50 of them wandering in the road looking lost as they do. I'm sure they only have one brain cell between them. Apparnetly the farmers get around £25.00 per shot brid so it is quite lucrative for them to bred lots. Regards Caroline