I’m still so very much in love with my garden… And others like it too! I have starlings with a small brood of starlets – or whatever one should call them – and in the evening there are a few bats circling the skies above my garden. And this afternoon I ran into this beauty:
This pheasant hen has decided to nest in the rose border and it really feels quite special to have a pheasant nesting in my garden; I found her as I was cutting aquilegias for a bunch of flowers to bring back to town, and at first I just noticed this slightly worried, cooing sound but thought little of it until there was suddenly an eye looking at me from between the foliage.
When I was a kid I once reared a brood of pheasants in my parents’ back garden. One of my hens was broody, so I bought 18 pheasant eggs and as a good girl she managed to get 17 to hatch. Later, once the chicks reached adolescence, they were released on my grandfather’s farm – and considering how bad a shot he was, if they only stayed on his lands they will have lived to a ripe old age… These eggs, though, will face a more perilous existence; there is a hunting shack behind my garden, and the guy who leases the hunt is a better shot than my grandfather.
Stay in my garden, chicklets! As much as I love a nice, roast pheasant – or pheasant au vin or confit of pheasant or pheasant rillettes – I promise not to harm you.
The eggs should hatch in a few weeks – as far as I remember, the hatching time for pheasant eggs is around 21 days – so the timing is good; the mother and her chicks should be out and about well before my garden is overrun by people for my summer party on June 25th.
I’ve put out a bowl of water for her – dehydration is common in nesting hens, so I’m guessing that might go for pheasants as well – and blocked the garden path past the rose border to remind myself to stay out of her way. She is very welcome here, and I intend to make her stay as pleasant as possible.