Updated: Sep 22, 2019
We have many pheasants living in the fields and hedges around Manor Bottom, and many of them visit the house and pick up the seed that has dropped from the bird feeders. They are extremely handsome birds, particularly when fully fledged (the one in this photo is a young male and so still had a bit of grey in him - all pheasants are born brown and grey, with the males changing their colour in adolescence).
Now, pheasants, along with wood pigeons, rocket upwards explosively when disturbed, the forceful beating of their wings making a sudden, loud booming. At night this really annoys me! I regularly go for night walks, usually without a torch, and, although I'm not the nervous type, walking in the dark always puts one a little on edge. So, to go from total silence, to the booming of large wings from a hedge right in front of you does induce a shock. It is like something from Don't Look Now! For a long time I regarded these birds as rather stupid for doing this. I mean, they surely heard me coming, right? I looked into the matter though, and found out that in fact they did hear me coming. The 'boom', the moment where they put me, a potential predator, into a fleeting shock, is their defence. They scare me, so they can escape. Just those few second are enough for them to get up and away, and safe from harm. Not so stupid after all!