12 July 2011

Pheasantly Surprised

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

I have been surprised by how many pheasants I see running around in the wild
Such colorful gorgeous birds in the countryside
with a very distinct call

Apparently the Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) was first introduced 
by the Romans and Normans in the 10th century as a game bird, 
originating from Ancient Colchis (now Georgia).  
It became 'extirpated' (locally extinct) from most of the isles 
in the early 17th century due to over-hunting.

It was a rediscovered game bird in the 1830s, 
and has been reared extensively by gamekeepers ever since. 
Although 30 million pheasants are released annually, 
most survive less than a year in the wild. 
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is trying to increase the wild population 
by researching improved breeding methods.

Hunting was formerly an elitist sport, and to an extent it still is
 of game birds, hares, and deer. 
Fox hunting has largely been made illegal. 
Many past Kings and Queens have been avid hunters; 
although Queen Elizabeth II does not hunt, Prince Philip does.

Fox in our backyard
Known for stealing shoes & scavenging rubbish bins

Which leads me to the interesting topic of UK gun control. 
With one of the strictest firearms legislation in the world, 
the UK has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world. 
Handguns have been almost completely banned for private ownership. 
Police officers routinely do not carry a firearm.

Interestingly, even Great Britain's Olympic shooters fall under this ban, 
who can only train in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands,
the Isle of Man, or abroad (namely Switzerland).  
Although the government granted special allowance 
for the shooting events for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, 
only 5 permits were given to Olympic British Shooters to train in Great Britain. 

- photos by me -
Source: Garden Birds, Wikipedia 123



Sunray Gardens said...

Interesting post. And the Fox stealing shoes is too funny. Wonder what he does with them.
Sunray Gardens

American in Bath said...

It was one of the things that completely squidged me out when I was back in the States. Guns, everywhere guns.

Jane said...

Definitely one of the strangest things for any English person coming to the US to accept is the proliferation of guns. As for those pesky foxes, if you put out large plastic bottles filled with water at night it will deter them, they don't like the glow that moonlight casts on them.

Molly said...

On the topic of pheasant hunting, you and your kids might enjoy the Roald Dahl book, Danny-Champion of the World. Charming book and highly recommended by all the McVeighs.

dkmart said...

What gorgeous birds! Those feathers are stunning! And as for the fox, I do believe I would put my shoes outside just for the purpose of having him steal them...I think he's absolutely wonderful looking, and he sure looks soft. Hmmm...wonder if he would have a problem with napping at the foot of my bed? I'm willing to bet he would NOT like that at all! Ahhh, well. ;)
xo Deirdre

Privet and Holly said...

Are you sure you
aren't living in
wonderland?? I felt
like I fell down
the rabbit's hole
when I looked at
these images....
xx Suzanne

Farmgirl Paints said...

WHAT?? Simply amazing. I have a thing for foxes. Loved this:)

Laura said...

Interesting and funny! Love this combo!

Lydia @ Twelve said...

Really interesting...

I was once told by a wise man at Chatsworth House that if you ran a pheasant down, then picked it up, it was essentially poaching, but if you were in the following car, you'd be ok... Same does not go for running down peasants though!


Jen of Country Weekend said...

Interesting history and fabulous pictures. Do you live in a fairy tale?

Erin S. said...

Pheasants are beautiful birds. We had a whole family of foxes that lived in our garden when we lived in Richmond. Our next door neighbor used to feed them (big no-no :) ).

Pet said...

And then seagulls too. You can find them nearly any place in England.

lisaroyhandbags said...

Great pics - pheasants are beautiful aren't they? We used to have a fox roaming around our yard too - he used to peek under our stairs for the resident groundhog. And yes, the world could learn a thing or two from gun control.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Beautiful pictures. How nice to be able to see these lovely birds...about the fox, well I don't know he is very cute, but are they shy or distructive...I have raccoons and they are horrible!

Hong Kong Badger said...

Loving all this trivia! Didn't know that about the Olympic Gun Shooters - how funny.

I'd be careful of that fox, they are so brazen - back when we were in London, a little fox walked through our open front door and into our flat, just like that! So mind you keep those doors shut! ;-)

Boho Farm and Home said...

STUNNING pheasant! I could look at those glorious gamebirds everyday and foxes too?
What a dream world!

T's Daily Treasures said...

Interesting information about the pheasants, foxes and gun control. Until folks move beyond the boundaries of their own backyards, they don't realize that we can learn from other countries when it comes to certain issues (health care comes to mind). I recently read about people here shooting migrating birds as a hobby. Apparently this area is a crossroad for lots of migrating birds but many don't make it because of the senseless shooting. Pretty sad! Hope your day is good. Best wishes, Tammy

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Hi lovely Laura,

I have to say that I like it that we hardly have any guns in the uk. It makes me feel safer somehow.

Where we used to live in London, there were LOADS of foxes who used to try and get in our bins. Grrr. But now we're further into the country we hardly get any!!

Pheasants though are another matter!


HolleyGarden said...

Love the pheasant! They are only seen here if someone has bought one for breeding. What a great picture of the fox!

Hines-Sight said...

Great photos!

Robynne's Nest said...

Begs the question doesn't it...regarding the availability of guns and the impact on gun homicides versus your right to bear arms (in U.S.)...but getting back to the pheasants...aren't they the prettiest birds, but definitely the dumbest...they simply wait on the side of the road to your car comes along and then decide to do a kamakaze...I have seen the best greeting card with a pheasant school on the front where the teacher is showing them how to run out onto the road etc....if I find it I will do a post on it. Robx