Wednesday 5 September 2007

Pheasants and Feeders

Since the last post I have been watching the young cock pheasants that have taken up residence in the garden. In just a few days their plumage has changed with the sharper, brighter colours of the beautiful adult males starting to come through. The first green is appearing on the neck and head and a few thin tail feathers have emerged on some of the birds. The pheasants prefer to stay on the ground, scratching and pecking for seeds, but they are aware of the feeders and seed trays above them and occasionally one will extend its head upwards, looking at the food, then make an ungainly leap, often falling back down with a feeble fluttering of wings but occasionally managing to get its claws around the edge of the seed tray and hang on. Clearly nervous at being so exposed the bird then pecks madly at the seeds, constantly looking up, before losing its nerve or balance and tumbling to the ground. When disturbed the pheasants skulk, lowering their heads and extending their necks then creeping slowly away through the undergrowth. If really startled they run, snaking through the grass. I have yet to see any of these youngsters fly. Watching them I've found they seem more and more alien and I find harder and harder to imagine what life might be like for them. Beautiful aliens from a different world, even if it is my garden.

Photo info: Canon EOS 350D, Canon EF 80-200mm lens at 200mm (effectively 320mm), f5.6 @ 1/60, ISO 100, raw file converted to JPEG and processed in Capture One Pro. Hand held.

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