the taming of the pheasant
I have a Reeves’s pheasant on my land that has taken quite a dislike to my wife, so much so that if she is out on the lawnmower or gardening and he sees her, he tries to attack. Besides despatching the aggressive bird, what can I do?”
Mike Sawn, head of education at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust in Hampshire, says that Reeves’s pheasants have quite a reputation for becoming aggressive like this and, in his experience, there is nothing to be done to calm them down. He says that in considering despatch, it is worth reflecting on the bird’s legal status under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Aside from a general presumption against releasing alien species into the wild, there are a few species, and the Reeves’s pheasant is one of them, that it is specifically illegal to liberate. This is because they are known to have the potential to form feral populations and could therefore pose a threat to native wildlife. On this basis, you could consider despatch of this bird as your moral duty to reduce the risk of it finding some hens and forming a feral population.