Monday, February 22, 2010

New Visitor

This past weekend we had a visitor we've
never before seen in our yard. This lovely, very round, hen pheasant came foraging in our raised garden beds. There's been enough melting in the last few days that some of the straw protecting the strawberries has been uncovered. She trotted right over to an exposed patch and dug in. Now and then she scratched vigorously, the straw flying out behind her. Then she found more of interest to peck at in the under layers.

Very soon she had company.
Four magpies came to see if they could have
a share. But ms. pheasant was having none
of that. The bravest of the magpies (and
they are nothing if not pushy!) came
hopping up, trying to get close enough to
grab a few bites. She faced him down.
He tried again, hopping in closer, until she charged him. He must have realized that she meant business, because he gave up and retreated to a nearby patch of exposed straw.

I was quite surprised that the four magpies
didn't try to "gang up" on the one pheasant.
They could have easily persuaded her away
by taking advantage of their numbers.

So often you see smaller birds pursuing a larger bird, "blitzing" it and making it retreat. These magpies were almost as large as the pheasant, but they didn't push her around.

On the other hand, maybe they weren't all that interested in whatever it was that she found in the straw to nibble on.

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