Friday, 31 July 2009

A handful of pheasant chicks

Pheasants are not the cleverest of birds and, as usual, this is a tale of maternal incompetance. Every year a female pheasant (a different one each time, of course) lays eggs in the garden, somewhere hidden in a border despite all the visitors, (that bit is clever), hatches out a large brood and then proceeds to lose most of them. One year a pheasant hen led them to the pond and three drowned, another let them get scattered all over the lawn attracting the attention of the sparrowhawk and more than once they have been left on the wrong side of a wall. (See previous blogs May & July 07)

That's what happened this year again; the pheasant, having reared up the young in the garden, flew over the bottom gate and expected her brood to somehow rejoin her. Some had made it and others hadnt! It was a visitor who alerted me to their predicament, and her Australian friend, Christine Harris, managed to photograph three of the chicks hopelessly trying to squeeze through the wire on the gate. I scooped up all three at once (see Christine's second photograph) and popped them over the gate with the mother who was clucking every now and then from under a fuschia. All's well that ends well, this time....

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