The pheasant is surely the most handsome yet the most silly wild bird in Britain.
I meet many of them because they have no road sense whatsoever. Sadly we must all recoil at the number of dead pheasants we see by the side of the road. But amazingly some do survive their encounters with motor vehicles and, lucky for them, end up at Tiggys and not in the pot. Just as crazy as their antics on the roads are their panic tactics they resort to when they come into us. Of the two sexes, the resplendent, strutting males are the absolute nightmares. Try to check an injury and the bird will flop lifeless and sometimes die. The females are quite different. They are true ladies and although devoid of any road sense they do make calmer patients. There is no let up in the pheasant-car wars. In this last two days we have had four pheasants brought in, one nutty male with a broken leg and a very calm female also with broken legs. Broken legs in birds can heal very quickly so we have high hopes for these two. One of the other females must have a headache after she was knocked unconscious. Sadly number four had a broken back, she had no future whatsoever. I think that craziness in pheasants must start at an early age. It is surprising how, in the spring and summer, we get brought in dozens of lone pheasant chicks. Very pretty but completely daft they have all dawdled and lost their family groups. They adapt well to our nursery and will adopt anything, even a feather duster as a surrogate mother. When they are grown we will release them far from any roads but they will still be as silly as their parents.