Pheasants, doves and all the usual suspects: feasting after Storm Bronagh

For years pheasants and doves have been regular visitors.  The pheasants, a cock and either one or two hens, have an ungainly waddle and are desperately foolish, apparently unaware of any dangers that might threaten, announcing their presence with loud cries.  They presumably nest somewhere locally. A bright, if somewhat intellectually limited addition to the garden. Remarkable how something so stupid can look so pompous.  I haven’t seen them for a couple of months, but the male was here today, unaccompanied.

The pair of collared turtle doves are the antithesis of the pheasants.  Elegant, shy and quick to alarm, they visit daily at about 5.30. Their tail plumage spreads into a perfect fan when they take to the skies. Any movement startles them to flight so I haven’t managed to capture them on video so far, which is a shame as they are incredibly pretty as they land and review the situation before picking their way towards the bird bath.  Before the 1930s they were unknown in Britain.  Their distribution was confined to the Balkans expanding into most of Europe in the following years and nesting in Britain only after 1955.  They can raise up to five broods in a year.

The garden was avian-central today – a blue tit, a great tit, coal tits, a robin, three female house sparrows and a male blackbird, as well as the pheasant and doves. The robin was ever-present, occasionally chasing off the sparrows, and he is increasingly vocal.  Not a pretty song, but unmistakeable.  The coal tits always announce their arrival by a highly distinctive peeping sound.

I assume that the bird feeders were a welcome source of fuel after three days and nights of gales and torrential rain.  It must be difficult to acquire a good lunch under those conditions.  Although there have been occasional showers, it has been mostly dry and the wind has dropped to a breeze, and it has been a joy to see the birds out in force.


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