Saturday, June 9, 2012

Life in a Zoo The Real Thing: Pheasants

Pheasant Pen
You can see a silver pheasant in the left corner of the picture.  Silver pheasants are easily tamed and get along well with other birds.

The Reeves pheasant facing the right. Our Reeves pheasant’s tail is damaged from dragging it on the ground. Generally, they have a much longer tail in proportion to their body than any pheasant other than a peacock.

I’m walking toward a Lady Amherst pheasant in the back corner. I especially like the Lady Amherst. It is, to my mind, the most beautiful pheasant in our collection.  The males have a beautiful cape of barred feathers that goes from the head to the shoulders. They can open and display it.

Pheasants are wild birds. Although they may become relatively tame, they are never domesticated. The only domesticated pheasant that I know of are peafowl.  These birds are tame in that they will not panic if I walk slowly through their pen, but they will not willingly allow anyone to touch them.

 Pheasants have a surprising voice. They make a clattering, kind of scratchy noise, like scraping a metal object across an old fashioned washboard. I kind of miss their early morning and evening calls.  It made me feel as if I was living in some wild, exotic place.

Although pheasants are not featured in The Thwarting of Mr. Dingsnapple, they were part of our zoo collection.  I must confess, none of our pheasants were rescue animals. Joe was especially fond of them.  He often ended up with one variety of pheasant or another as birthday, Christmas, or anniversary gifts!

As with most birds, when we bought pheasants, we always bought them in pairs.  Everyone needs his own mate.

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