My resident pheasant

Fuji X-T30 with 230mm (345mm equiv) 1/160s @ f/6.7, handheld. The stabiliser saves a couple of stops.

I see him every day. He lives (perches for the night, that is) elsewhere but likes to take his bug meals in the garden. Our daily disturbing mother-Earth with two spades and a rake must have something to do with it. He usually waits at a distance until we clear the area, then approaches by foot, with dignity, to claim his victuals.

If you come closer, the avian immediately runs away — he is aware of his gastronomic value — but I never saw him fly. Boy, does he run! Driving around the area I regularly see his brethren running for their life from under my front wheels. When a jackdaw or a rook notices me late, they just fly. But not the pheasant kind. I can’t imagine what could persuade this fat bastard to open his wings. A hungry fox?

Science is powerless to explain why pheasants, while perfectly capable of air travel, appear to hate flying. I find it reassuring. There are still true mysteries left for generations born into a world of mobile, global and virtual gibberish.

Another thing that he does regularly is walk across the garden to the adjacent crop field. Every time it happens I can hear his rather unpleasant deafening crow and see pigeons take to the wing over the pond there. Speciesism, I think. He has a deeply rooted prejudice against pigeons.

And there is one more thing to marvel at.

Not only will a pheasant walk and run, he will race you if he thinks it’s safe (remember the gastronomic value?). If you sit in a parked car, he will walk up to you and look you in the eye. And if you decide to drive, he will follow. He can’t run very fast, only about 10 miles/hour, roughly the speed of the best marathon athlete. And the bastard in the motor vehicle usually likes to push it just a bit further. Then the bird stops and waits for the human to come to their senses.

See it here:

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