Pheasants, in the evolutionary pile of avian intelligence, surely they landed at the bottom of the heap, then dug a little deeper. Or, perhaps their gamekeepers have bred out every gram of common sense, after all, you don’t want to make the shoots too sporting for the City Boys. Still, if the landowners are happy to let these genuine bird brains roam across the countryside, they should not begrudge the buzzards their percentage. I am sure their accountants can write off the loss as Mother Nature’s tax.
On my commute there are a couple of fields where the crows like to gather. Flocks of 50 strong are not uncommon. They see me coming and up they fly, bits of stubble twirling in their turbulence. They circle around then land a safe distance away, resuming their activities. The scene only needs a misplaced climbing frame to be complete. Smart birds.
Contrast this with the pheasants around the next corner. On the edge of the wood there be will twenty or more bedraggled birds mooching around the track. They are quite oblivious to their surroundings and I am among them before they realise. Finally my presence is noted and the the penny does drop, human, and they squawk into panicked action. The smarter ones attempt to fly off. The dumbest run around in circles rocking their grain brained heads back and forth, dangerously close – for them – to my wheels. You would think they would have learnt some fearful association between the weekend’s gunnery and man. Clearly not. No wonder the buzzards are so common.
You can forget doped raisins, Danny’s dad never had opportunities this easy to bag a few birds, and I wonder if any one has? Of all the cyclists, dog walkers and joggers that use this route, I am sure I’m not the only who has thought of reaching out and grabbing one for the pot. (Obviously I am not condoning poaching!)