Question and discussion perhaps?
We live in a large house with a large garden on a castle estate and it’s great because for 700 acres of the castle and perhaps four other homes including ours. About a year ago a young male pheasant came into our garden 2 or 3 times a week beginning around March. I am almost certain I’ve written about him but maybe not here...anyway we thought he seemed sweet but obviously wild,. Eventually he got along with the robins, tits, sparrows and others and came around once a day to get any scraps but he’d leave. As a random joke we called him Rusty. He was wild and while he was welcome he wasn’t a pet.
At the end of last November 2020, I looked out to find an unimaginable number of pheasants in our garden. I found Rusty cowering and mumbling in a corner up near the house while owner 50 (hard to count them but we did) of mixed male and female pheasants just carpeting my garden. I’m garden proud and love living in the Scottish countryside because wildlife is all around us. “Rusty” pheasant was a nice addition when he did visit.
So I quickly realized quickly these weren’t wild as they ran towards me when I stepped outside. They were bought from a breed for hunting source by the castle owner for a pheasant shoot I soon discovered while talking to my neighbors. I was livid. The guys that dropped them off left them in the ruins of an old mill about 20-30 feet from our garden edge and directly across from my only neighbor who lives in a cottage near us on the estate.
in early December I heard the shoot commence. No markers for hunt boundaries nor dates of a shoot were posted. I scooped up my cats who go out during the day and shut them inside. The shotguns went off for about two hours but about two days later we counted 32 pheasants in our garden. They’d started following our “regular” pheasant Rusty and with him a source of food he usually left alone. Sin my robins and other ground feeding birds were struggling to eat and our temperatures were as low as -17 at nigh si I was concerned being an animal lover
The second shoot left us with 24 birds +/- and always our Rusty remained safe. He was not amused with the other pheasants following him around and the new male came too close and a battle ensued leaving Rusty with a wonky tail feather.
I DO NOT LIKE HUNTING! The problem has become mind numbingly frustrating though. I need help!! Now with around 20 birds and Rusty, I can’t get anything done. I can’t feed my little garden birds, The gardeners came last week and I mentioned the pheasants will not be timid of humans. I don’t want them to die, spring is on and off and the females are trying to nest here and there. I walk them out and put food in their side of the pathway to where they “live” but this is an exercise in futility. The group can clear food on the ground in five minutes and chase off the usual garden birds. I keep food on their side they have no reason to be here.
The straw broke the camels back yesterday when I got up around 6am and 22 of them were ripping my grass to shreds leaving massive ditches along my stone pathway down the centre of th garden. They’ve gotten up into trees and arbors and ripped down hanging bird feeders breaking one that was a gift. They dug up two rose bushes that are decades old and ate every tadpole spawn ball laid by the frogs who have come here every year in our five years here.
im AT MY WITS END, I want NO harm to come but if I tell the castle estate owner he’s going tu find a way to destroy them. I’m gutted as I’m an animal lover, I spent years waiting to get my first pheasant photo and was thrilled when we left the city to be in the countryside. I spend time and money buying the right flowers, my gardeners work to keep the rest tidy and now that they’ve taken to shredding the lawn?
i should also mention that the jackdaws are combining with them to truly torture the little ones and doves... I’m sad and frustrated
WHAT CAN I DO?
thank you and sorry for the long post.
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