Tuesday 19 September 2017

Where have all the pheasants gone?

A wet pheasant in the garden, June 2016

I saw a pheasant today. That would have been a commonplace statement six months ago, when I was seeing pheasants every day in the garden, as I had done for many years. But this pheasant, which burst out of the undergrowth on the edge of the woods as I was admiring the first touches of autumn in the leaves, was the first I've seen since late winter. I don't know the actual date of the last sighting as it took a few weeks before I began to notice their absence but it was sometime in March.

Pheasants are bred for shooting not far away and this time of year often sees dozens of released birds congregating on the roads looking confused and presumably wondering where the hell this big world has come from, if pheasants can wonder at all. Maybe these pheasants will appear soon.

But there have always been wild pheasants in the woods and fields anyway. On any walk I'd see several. And some of them just about lived in our garden, often nesting there, and feeding on seeds and nuts dropped from the bird feeders. Occasionally one would balance precariously on the mesh seed trays and manage to grab a few seeds from the feeder before falling off. The ground under the feeders was always bare dirt as the pheasants scratched up any plants. Now the ground is greening over.

The pheasants have gone. I have no idea why.


  1. The same happens to me every year. I feed birds in winter and always put food on the ground for pheasants. This year I had one male with his harem of 4 ladies. Around mid to late March, the females disappeared but the male still came every morning and stood under my window to wake me up. He would let me come quite close when I put his food on the ground. Now, first week of April, he has disappeared as well, I have not seen or heard him for several days. When the females went, I figured they may be preparing their nests but I can't work out where the male went? Does anyone know if this is normal pheasant behaviour or is there a likelihood that they fell prey to hunters. I live next door to a big farm in Wales. Would the farmer be likely to shoot my pheasants? Is it legal for anyone to shoot them?

  2. I have had the same experience I have had a tame pheasant come to my garden, for seeds for the last 3 years he would call me to come out. He disappeared about 3cweeks ago plus all.the pheasants in the Marsh opposite have gone, and there were a lot of them including 2 white ones. There doesn't seem to have been any shooting. Its a mystery.

  3. The exact same thing happened to a tame pheasant of mine. He has bern visiting my gardrn regularly for the last 3 years. However in May 2020 he completely disappeared as did all the plentiful male and female pheasants on the Marsh opposite including 2 white pheasants that were easy to spot,
    Its a mystery as there does not appear to be any shooting at the moment.

  4. I’ve been feeding 15-20 pheasants for 20 years every day .... I buy sacks and sacks of bird food but since may this year 2020 they don’t come to feed any more, no starlings, no goldfinch, no blue tits not even any pigeons... why ?