A PHEASANT landed in my garden today, drawn probably from the banks of the Lea and other rustic parts of north London by the table scraps I put out for robins, wrens and other birds. It could also be an escapee from private ownership. A story that has been involving these non-native birds for centuries
Phasianus colchicus was first recorded in England in Norman times, and has spread throughout Britain. More recent introductions by those hawk-hating gamekeepers who farm the birds for the rifle-toting over-moneyed class have resulted in the genes of several species contributing to what has become known as the Old English Pheasant.
The photographs I show here give some credence to my claim of the bird’s appearance today near the heart of London: in zone 2. The pheasant spent 40 minutes eagerly feeding, without attracting the attention of the family of foxes snoozing behind a garden shed ia few backyards away.
Those of you not of the vegetarian persuasion and tempted to bag a bird for the table should remember that the pheasant-shooting season runs from 1 October 2010 to 1 February 2010 — the peasant-shooting season ended long ago. Loving Dalston says: “Please lay down your pistols and your rifles*, as a barely remembered English pop group once sang.
David Altheer 110310
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.
* © the Oldham, Lancashire immortals Barclay James Harvest