The Anxious Wait is Over!

Our local pheasant numbers have been low for the last few years. A few years back we had eight hens and several cocks competing for dominance but for the past two years we have had only two hens and one cock and no surviving chicks from the two which appeared for a very short while last year.

The two hens have been absent for several weeks, sitting on eggs we presumed, and we have waited in hopes that they would reappear with chicks in tow. One arrived with a very disorganised clutch a few evenings ago. They hadn’t been trained to remain close to mother and separated from the group and came down to the patio; another went into a climber on the garage wall and one daredevil went into the garage and the got into a tizzy. I returned him/her to mother but he immediately flew off down the garden. Mother was frantic trying to keep them together, chiding one very physically and vocally to keep it out of the pond and calling continuously and insistingly to the others to come to her and stay close. They didn’t stay long, just long enough for mother to have a quick bite to eat, and they were off again.

Parents together and chicks still under cover and picking up courage to join mother for a snack

Today’s visit was far more orderly. Mother had obviously trained the young ones to stay together and close to her and communication between her and them was constant and low key. She came and stood on the wall across from the kitchen window, her usual position to tell us she was there and waiting for food. I brought her some rolled barley, not her preferred peanuts as I feared the chicks might choke on them and they enjoyed the barley as well.

It was a joy to see them – eight chicks – and to see that mother was comfortable to allow them to approach close to me. I stayed very quiet, without moving, about 3-4 metres away from where they were eating. They had their fill and went on their way again. I’m sure I’ll see them again in coming days.

And then it was time to move along.

9 thoughts on “The Anxious Wait is Over!

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