One morning last week Tim spotted a huddled form in the orchard, just after Bagger's first morning patrol. He went out to find the white-winged male pheasant, recently deceased, with wounds to the throat. Circumstancial evidence points to the aggressor! However that was dinner sorted out. The pheasant spent a night hanging in the cave, ready for plucking. None of our pheasants have rings, so we can't tell whether they belong to someone, unlike the partridges.
When Tim plucked the bird, he tried to pull too many feathers at once and tore the skin, so he skinned it completely and found a shotgun pellet in a recent small wound on its lower neck. From its location in the verger and the trail of feathers indicating that it had been dragged, he thinks that it must have been shot and wounded, and flew into the verger to meet its nemesis in the form of our black tom cat.
Now there is only one male pheasant in the meadow, and six females. He is going crazy with frustration, having no rivals, and he is chasing the girls all over the place, but they are still not interested in him yet. He is large and handsome in a florid sort of way (captain of the first 15) with bushy eyebrows and a wide white neck ring. The girls come in shades of grey-brown or rusty-brown, with pointy tails and without the eyebrows. At the moment they run away from him, but not so fast that he will give up entirely.
We haven't got any recent photos of pheasants.... especially the current ones... but here is a picture from Tim's brother's flickr site. His website can be found here.... Nickpix.co.uk - Photography by Nick Ford
|Pheasants fighting... these have the white wing coverts. [This picture appeared on BBC's Autumnwatch]|