We don’t just have one one-legged pheasant. We have two. A male and female with two legs between them that Hew has named Percy and Percina.
While it can be distressing to see a bird hobbling on one leg, ours are perfectly happy and seeing how they adapt has strengthened my respect and appreciation for just how resilient birds and animals can be.
We will probably never know how they became disabled, whether it was caused by a deformity or injury, but we’re putting ourselves in their feathers and making sure they are well looked after by feeding them on the ground and they also take advantage of the availability of our bird feeders.
We often have pheasants in the garden strutting around. And although they are so common here, they are still an extraordinarily gorgeous bird. Females are much paler and drab but a male pheasant is a splendid sight with his iridescent green and indigo neck and bright red face with a yellow beady eye and rich speckled plumage ending in a huge long tail. He is made to be seen.
At dusk, the loud call of the males, answering each other across our fields is as beautiful and evocative as cooing from wood pigeons. And although they peck at the primrose flowers and emerging snake’s-head fritillaries in spring, we love them in the garden and whether they have one leg or two, feel honoured they have chosen to make their home here.