Country diary: a pheasant can take care of itself


Wenlock Edge, Shropshire: The one we found in a plastic feeder wasn’t trapped, it was learning survival skills

A woman stopped me in the lane, to say she’d heard a bird in pain, I wondered if it was too late, to go there and investigate.

The woman had been distressed by what sounded like the thrashing of wings, in a field behind a tall hedge up at the top of the lane. I had an idea. The day was murky and damp but celandines and primroses in the hedgebank cancelled out the chill. From the lane, an instinctively animal sound – a panicky banging against something hard – could be heard. It might have been a trapped bird and it felt urgent enough to do something about, so there was a compulsion to trespass.

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