It was one evening last week when I received the latest call for assistance from Meltham Wildlife Rescue in Yorkshire; although I speak with Kathy there on a regular basis giving general advice, this time she needed more specific help...in regard to a casualty they had just admitted.
As you can see from the photo; this poor pheasant has had his wing and tail feathers severely clipped back leaving him flightless, yet still (as a wild bird) not wanting to remain in captivity. Sadly, I have seen this severe mutilation all too often before, and am told that the birds are sometimes 'sacrificed' at a family celebration. Thankfully, this time - especially being a 'wild bird', he had been discovered, rescued, and would not suffer this fate...
I tried (without success) to get him a place into one of the rescue centres nearer to Meltham - with the feathers so badly cut, it will be 4-5 months before he could fly well again.
This left a few options; if he was bodily feathered and could fly, he would be safe to live at the Home Reserve at Rochdale. If poorly feathered and no flight at all then he woud have been best up at Knoxwood and on our Watermeadow Reserve where Knoxwood staff would be able to keep an eye on him. However, as he had good body coverage but no flight then our Three Owls Wood at Tarleton was just the place for him - we already have a covey of resident pheasants there, so we hope he will soon settle in and with the excellent diet the Wood provides, will soon be regrowing those feathers and whizzing around the skies again.
My thanks to John Thorpe and Jennifer Frew for their company on the journey; and credit to John for his well-placed photography on the day. Whilst in the area, we also visited the Meadow Reserve, and Old Beech Wood and were able to enjoy the wonderful facilities that these Three Owls Reserves now offer to the wildlife around us.