I have been forwarded an email from reader Maurice Dower, which includes pictures of a bird which was in his garden recently.
Maurice says: “Whilst I was tidying up my front garden, I had a visitor which I believe was a young pheasant. It eventually ran over the road and hid in some shrubs, where its plumage illustrated its camouflage value.”
Maurice is right. His visitor was a young pheasant, yet to attain his full adult colours. Thousands of pheasants are released into the countryside every summer to provide sport for the shooting season. They are very prone to wander, as any gamekeeper will tell you .
Gardens, especially those with bird feeders, are a great attraction to wandering pheasants. Being used to feeders in their pens, these young pheasants are quick avail themselves of a free feed.
I have known individual pheasants become regular visitors to their chosen garden, often turning up regularly at the same time each day for a top-up of seed and grain. Of course, these birds can become great favourites of their hosts, often earning themselves pet names.
However, once a pheasant has adopted the safety and refuge of gardens, it is often good at keeping out of harm’s way when a shoot is going on.
Pheasants above all birds have shaped our local landscape. The reason local woods are often long straight strips is because they were planted for producing pheasants. This provision of pheasant habitat of course benefits many other species. Maurice’s pheasant just isn’t one of them.