09 April 2012

Peacocks and Poppycock

Big birds don't fly well and would have been easy to catch and eat in less regulated times. These days chickens - well we know about chickens - and pheasants are considered to be perfectly normal things to eat. Peacocks do not fall into this category and they would be absurd to hunt. Their purpose is decorative: if you have a Kew Gardens-style hot house like my neighbours then of course you must have peacocks. They are the lucky ones. Pheasants lend a place a bit of style but every winter day for them is a gamble with a shot gun. If only they didn't fly at all! It is considered unsporting (and un-health and safety) to shoot a pheasant near the ground. So it is picked off in mid-air, after a tremendous amount of squawking and flapping and personal effort. Pheasants seem to prefer running and somebody should tell them - just keep running.

More related poppycock in Lady Muck's Diary, the Observer Organic Allotment Blog


  1. Is this true of all hunted birds, the wild turkey for example? I wonder if it is do to the extinction of the dodo, that it is now considered unsporting to hunt a bird on the ground?

    A swan is definitely in the same category as the peacock, even if they weren't the property of the crown.

    1. Sporting naturalist historians reveal yourselves.