Pheasants are tasty

On Monday, while digging us out from two inches of snow that had somehow turned into a foot, my Patient Husband heard a crack. He looked up to see a pheasant fall to the ground at our garage doors. It had, apparently, flown straight into the side of our house.

Note to pheasants: the house is bigger than you. It will not care that you are coming and will not get out of the way.

It was about two feet away from my Patient Husband and his snowblower, but it didn’t move. Eventually he turned off the snowblower and chased it away. It half-wobbled, half-flew to a cluster of trees in front of the house, near the road.

When he told me, I said, “It’s concussed?”  He thought so. 

And my first thought was, if it’s dead (because birds have light bones, and that kind of impact might have broken several) maybe I should go get it.

I mean, that’s what Ma Ingalls would have done, right? She’d have gone out, cleaned and dressed the bird, and everyone would have dined on Providence-Delivered Pheasant, the best take-0ut meal. God gave Moses quail in the desert, and we would have received a pheasant.

Of course, I dithered in my head about it all. I’m a city girl at heart, and the idea of eating something that wasn’t grown on a farm (which, as we know, is a sterile environment) and slapped with a sell-by date…well, that’s just weird.

I still had no idea what to do an hour later when I looked out the window to see a pheasant hunting for food in the trees at the front of the house. This made my decision a lot easier. Or at least, it made my cowardice a lot less noticeable.

(Okay, everyone, go ahead and make the pun you’re dying to, about how I chickened out. Do it. You’ll feel better. Really. See now? Isn’t that better.)

This morning, coming back from the bus stop, I passed the stand of trees and realized the pheasant was still there, and only about six feet from me!

And then I realized, it was sitting in a pile of feathers. Oh dear, I though. It must be sick and it’s shedding.

And then I realized, that wasn’t a pheasant. Oh dear, I thought. It’s a hawk.

And then I realized, it wasn’t sitting in a pile of hawk feathers.

Oh dear, I thought.

It was a beautiful hawk. And, I would add, presumably smarter than the pheasant. For, you see, hawks do not dither about wondering whether the pheasant has parasites or a sell-by date or was raised on organic corn. They’re pretty pragmatic.

And from this, I also derived a very important lesson: the world is a dangerous place when you are both stupid and tasty.

Live and learn. Or, don’t do either. I guess. More hands-on learning from Nature’s School.


  1. Amy Deardon

    Love it. You can draw a lot of lessons from this, like you need to grab opportunities or whatever — but really, the hawk probably needed that pheasant more than you anyway 🙂

  2. AnotherFaceInTheCrowd

    Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it squeamishness. There’s a sense in which it’s a pity to not eat a pheasant that *hasn’t* been shot whereby you have to painstakingly pick out every last bit of lead shot and hope you’ve missed none, but on the other hand, It’s not the best idea to try killing and dressing game if you’ve never done it and don’t have anyone to show you how.

    Plus the hawk *did* need it more. Winters are pretty thin times for raptors. Pheasants aren’t easy catching for hawks — their body feathers are pretty loose and come off in bunches so that that’s all a bird of prey is left with.

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