Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Pretty maids all in a row

We are seeing as many as 12 female pheasant at any one time, plus at least two, sometimes three males. Mixed poultry corn might be the cheapest bird food available, but our visitors seem quite happy with it, they certainly keep coming back for more.

No idea what the girls are looking at, but they spent quite a while hanging out on the fence this morning. Our two very dark birds seem to have moved in permanently. If they breed next year it will be interesting to see what colour their babies are.


  1. Oh, how lovely to have the pheasant visit you every day. I've only seen them a couple of times in the midwest. Our winter birdies are arriving. I'm seeing new ones most every day.

    Glad you're taking the reasonable approach to your gardening right now. I hope you continue to heal through the winter.

  2. Melanistic birds are bred intentionally as game keepers like to have something a bit out of the ordinary to put down for their shoots. If they breed with a melanisitc male (who would be basically black), they would have melanistic chicks. If they breed with a 'normal' male, then the chicks could be anywhere from melanistic to normal. If you look around, you will find pheasants can vary hugely from bird to bird, anywhere from white to black and pretty much all colours in between. Pheasants tend to stick together as a family in their first winter, so my guess would be that your current family (or two) will gradually go their seperate ways in the spring. You'll have to keep us informed!

  3. FFG, I think we have so many here because they've escaped from shoots. The biggest and oldest female is getting quite tame and you know you've been squawked at when an impatient lady thinks the food isn't going down fast enough.

    CB, thanks for the info. Knew nothing about pheasant before we came here (other than how to cook them). I think this lot have no reason to leave - plenty of food, a shrubbery to shelter in during the day, and I confess the last brace I was given didn't taste quite as good as they used to ...

  4. They do seem to be rather at home perched on your fence.

    Let's hope that the peacock down the road doesn't decide that the Bag End Pheasant Sanctuary should include him as well!

  5. I was going to say about the Melanistics too. We have a couple around here and they really do stand out. We currently have a cock that is totally standard in body but he is missing the red and white on his head. Strange looking thing! Wouldn't like him for the pot though, this is his third winter in the garden.

  6. Interesting to read this as I saw a very dark, almost black one one the other day. They have started to come into our garden in search of food too.

  7. James, thankfully have not seen (or heard) the peacock recently. One can always hope they have been found a new home ...

    Amanda, hello, thank you for your comment. Third winter for your boy? These little birds aren't stupid, they know where they're well off! This will be the third winter for the big female we call 'matriarch', wouldn't want to eat her either.

    Jill, CB tells me they range from almost black to almost white/silver. Mine get mixed poultry corn, very cheap and lots of other birds enjoy it too. Occasionally something sprouts but I just mow it!


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