A Tale of Two Pheasants

A while back I reported that we had a pheasant visit our garden (you can read about it here). Since then he has regularly visited and I have been feeding him. Now he comes and taps on the French Window when he wants food. He doesn’t appear everyday and I know several other people have reported seeing him in the neighbourhood so he is obviously exploring food potential in other gardens. The picture below shows him feeding in the snow a few days ago. He is gradually getting more tame and now walks towards me when putting food out rather than retiring to a safe distance.

First Pheasant in the snow

A few weeks after his first visit a second pheasant turned up. This one is smaller and seems older. They had a bit of a barney for an hour or so then I noticed them fly off, the original pheasant chasing the other. Eventually the first pheasant returned, presumably victorious at having sent his rival packing. We hadn’t seen this second pheasant since – until yesterday.

Our recent snowfall had turned to rain and was slowly washing the snow away. We noticed the second pheasant in the garden looking very soggy and sorry for himself. He seemed very dozy and we were a bit worried about him. He greedily gobbled up the food I put out and a short while later was asking for more, which was also greedily gobbled up.

The two pheasantsThen the first pheasant also showed up and the pair of them dodged around each other, marking each other’s movements for quite some considerable time, the smaller pheasant not giving ground. This built up to another fluttering challenge, until finally I noticed that Pheasant No. 1 – the bigger one and furthest from the camera in the photo – had gone again but the smaller one was still here, still looking dozy and unhappy.

No. 2 hung about all day looking miserable but greedily gobbling up food as soon as we put it out. We fed him many times during the day until eventually, by mid-afternoon he was looking a whole lot better. Soon after that he also disappeared.

Number 2 on the fenceThis morning, however, he was back again, shouting to be fed. My husband went out in dressing gown and slippers to feed him first thing. He finished that off and was asking for more when I appeared a short while later fully dressed. Again he gobbled that up, running towards me when I filled the dish – though he came no closer than about 3ft away, just to be sure he was safe! A little later I saw him sitting on the fence and was able to get quite close to take this photo. He still seemed a bit dozy and had one foot tucked up underneath him for warmth. Shortly after I took this photo he disappeared again. The first pheasant hasn’t been around today at all.

If you are wondering how I can tell the difference, well, as I said number 2 is smaller and seems older. He also has a larger silvery grey patches on his wings – perhaps a sign of age? The first pheasant is bigger and more impressive, obviously in his prime. Today he seems content to leave our garden to his rival but will he back tomorrow? Will they both appear again? I don’t know, but at least they both know that if they do turn up they will get fed.

 

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Back Again

Pheasant,
two weeks
gone, no news.
Back again now seeking
food.

Pheasant

Yuletide
pheasant visiting.
Will he stay
when the shooting season
ends?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Around about the time of the Solstice a cock pheasant appeared in our garden and he has been visiting almost every day since – I think he has only missed two days. The first day he appeared I put out some seed which he gobbled up greedily so I re-filled his supply and he gobbled that up too. I’m guessing he has strayed from the fields up the road to avoid the shooting and wonder if he will return home once the shooting season finishes in a few days from now. Meanwhile I’m going away tomorrow for a long weekend on our boat so have given my youngest son, who will be holding the fort, instructions to look out for him and make sure he has food. Interestingly a second cock pheasant turned up the other day but my resident friend soon saw him off!

The Rag

The colourful rag lying in the gutter
in truth turned out to be
a dead pheasant.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I posted this hurriedly on the ‘River’ Facebook page yesterday. I have polished it a tad to post here.

Site content copyright of Elizabeth Leaper (Libby).

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