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The Bullfinch
Look at the bright colours of this beautiful little bird: y...

The Flamingo
Is not this a beautiful bird, though rather singular in its...

The Swan
You are no doubt well acquainted with this beautiful bird, ...

The Kestrel
This picture represents the kestrel, one of the smallest an...

The Eagle
The Eagle is often called the King of Birds, and therefore ...

The Albatross
This is the largest of all sea-birds, and you are not very ...

The Vulture
This strange looking bird is also a bird of prey; but it fe...

The Duck
There is so much that is interesting to tell you about the ...

The Robin Redbreast
Every little boy and girl well knows this pretty little bir...

The Owl
This solemn looking bird is seldom to be seen by day. It is...


Least Viewed

[illustration: The Goose]
Amongst the Romans this bird was held sacred to Juno, their s...

The Pheasant
This beautiful bird comes originally from the East, and tak...

The Magpie
The Magpie is a very pretty and cunning bird. It is easy to...

The Lapwing
This little bird which is often called the Pewit, from its ...

The Goose
Have you not often heard people say "as silly as a goose"? ...

The Quail
The quail is the smallest of the poultry tribe, and is a pr...

The Owl
This solemn looking bird is seldom to be seen by day. It is...

The Robin Redbreast
Every little boy and girl well knows this pretty little bir...

The Duck
There is so much that is interesting to tell you about the ...

The Vulture
This strange looking bird is also a bird of prey; but it fe...



The Pheasant








This beautiful bird comes originally from the East, and takes its name
from the river Phasis, in Colchis, Asia Minor, whence it was first
brought to Europe by the Argonauts. The pheasant is one of the most
beautiful of all fowls, and can only be rivalled by the peacock. The
shifting hues upon his neck, and the brilliant scarlet and black around
his head, strike every beholder with admiration. Pheasants are very good
to eat, but sportsmen are not allowed to shoot them until the 1st of
October, in order that they may have time to rear their young. In
ancient times the pheasant was held in reverence by the heathen, and it
was only on the most solemn occasions that they were used as food, and
then only by the emperors of Rome. There are no pheasants in America,
and, on account of their short wings and heavy bodies, they never fly
from one country to another. But they increase very rapidly in number, a
single pair having been known to produce as many as 183 eggs in a
season. The sportsman, however, takes care to keep their numbers within
due limits. Their habit of squatting or sitting so close to the earth,
has been supposed to be an instinctive act to save themselves from the
attacks of the hawk, who is unable to master his prey, if large and
strong, near the ground, where it could offer resistance. I have met
with a story of a pheasant which proves that this bird is very bold and
courageous. "A young lady walking alone a few miles from Stirling (in
Scotland), observed a beautiful cock pheasant perched on a stone by the
road side. Instead of showing timidity at her approach, he flew down
upon her, and, with spurs and beak, began a furious assault. Being
closely pursued, and seeing no way of escape from the enraged bird, she
adopted the only alternative that was left, namely, of seizing her
adversary, whom she carried home, but soon afterwards released; on the
door being opened, however, he went out without any sign of fear, and,
with a deliberate step, paced backwards and forwards in front of the
house, and manifested an inclination to join the fowls in the poultry
yard. It should be remarked that the young lady, when attacked, wore a
scarlet mantle, which probably excited the irritability of the pheasant,
as it is well known to do that of the turkey-cock, and some other
animals."

Wild pheasants feed on grain, seed, green leaves, and insects. They have
been seen as eager as country children after the ripe blackberries in
the hedges, or, later in the year, after sloes and haws. The root of the
buttercup is also a very favourite food of the pheasant, and they will
eat greedily of acorns. When kept in confinement, the young birds
require very careful feeding with ants' eggs, and many other kinds of
soft provision.





Next: The Flamingo

Previous: The Magpie



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