Has anyone seen our Pheasant? A rhetorical question of course, because none of you could possibly provide the answer. But you might be thinking: Why the question?
[Footnote:there is only just the one Pheasant. This is two images, one reversed, hand merged in Photoshop]
For the last two years, a cock Pheasant has been a regular visitor to our sizeable walled garden. Often arriving cackling noisily, sitting on our garden wall for lengthy periods, or pecking around the bird table hoovering up the seed spilt by the small birds.
Eventually, early this year we decided we should make more of an effort to reward his visits, and set out a dish of wild bird seed for him. It worked – he became a predictable daily visitor, arriving for breakfast, lunch or tea, or all three! And hanging around waiting, if the dish had not been replenished. His initial nervousness was replaced by an increasing boldness to the extent that if I moved slowly I could walk down the garden to re-fill the dish and he would remain close by. And as soon as I stepped back he would approach and start to peck away even if I was only 10 feet away.
Occasionally, a female pheasant came with him. And then one day at the end of Spring this year he failed to turn up, and that is the last we have seen of him.
You get attached, even to wild life. Domestic animals are well known for their capacity to brighten life – dogs and cats being prime examples. But small birds squabbling at the feeders; visits from Woodpeckers, Squirrels, and a Pheasant, all brighten up a dreary lifeless garden in winter. We miss our Pheasant and inevitably wonder what has happened to him. Has our diner become someone’s dinner? Has he died of old age, been killed crossing the road, or maybe he’s found his mate?
Or, perish the thought – has he found a better Restaurant!? Maybe one day, he’ll just turn up again – one can always hope.