Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Pheasant news

The two photos above were taken about an hour ago on a cloudy afternoon.  Looking back though my old photos I see it is four years since this pheasant first appeared in the garden so he must be at least five years old.  It is probably a pretty good age for a wild pheasant but as far as I can see the BTO have no data for pheasant longevity - probably because most of them get shot or run over.  This one was shy when he first came to the garden but he has been coming to the door most mornings and feeding from my hand since 2013.  Or sometimes, like today, he creeps up behind me in the garden and makes me jump.

He disappears each July, presumably to moult.  This summer he was gone for seven weeks - the longest period yet - and I thought he might not return.  However, he did eventually turn up and even still had his tail feathers, although they fell out the next day.  For a while he looked a bit like a rather scruffy exotic chicken although I wouldn't say that to his face.

While he was moulting he was keen on taking dust baths in the kitchen garden, presumably to get rid of the itching.

As he has got older he likes to have a rest in the afternoon (don't we all?), often standing in the shade of the blackcurrant or raspberries in the kitchen garden if it is sunny.

When you see him in this stance you can see how he might be descended from a Tyrannosaurus or Velociraptor.


  1. Nice to see an old friend! But must take issue with the T rex comment. Surely the dinosaurs are depicted like that based on the birds as we know now from where they are evolved, rather than the other way round. So T rex et al are drawn like a pheasant!

    1. You may be right Phil, although I think modern ideas on dinosaur posture are based on science rather than extrapolation from pheasants. See Robert M. Ross, Don Duggan-Haas, and Warren D. Allmon (2013) The Posture of Tyrannosaurus rex: Why Do Student Views Lag Behind the Science?. Journal of Geoscience Education: February 2013, Vol. 61, No. 1, pp. 145-0. available at