Visitors to the house today were surprised and delighted to see a number of wild pheasants in the garden. To see one would have been a treat, one said, but to see a group was exceptional. It was an everyday occurrence for me.
When I draw the bedroom curtains they are outside, watching and waiting. When I walk in the garden they come running towards me – the braver ones anyway; others, being more cautious, keep a little distance. They are ever near at hand while we work in the garden and, despite what many have said to me, they do only very little damage in the garden – where the soil is dry they scratch and enjoy dust baths.
The secret of all this attention is, of course, food! We have kept hens and ducks for a number of years and always give some, rolled barley, to the pheasants. This is obviously to their taste as they wait for breakfast every morning and come begging several times during the day.
It is a reciprocal arrangement: they are fed and I enjoy having them in the garden.