Feedback on Pheasants

I’ve had some lovely feedback on my British Birds paper on Pheasants.

Here are some examples:

I read this excellent and thought-provoking BB review with great interest and respect! It is very balanced and well informed and one can but hope that the shooting hierarchies will think about the issues constructively – though I regret to say that my hopes are not high on that front.

The key problem is the complete lack of regulatory authority of British Shooting. You put your finger on all the right points but it needs an insider to recognise when you are doing so. Much will go over the heads of the casual reader.

I very much hope that your review opens just a few more eyes – and keeps the pan on the hod for when the political mood changes, as it eventually will.

I am compelled to write to you in appreciation of your paper in the latest BB on the Common Pheasant. Congratulations on providing not only a masterly resume of information and clear summaries of your opinions, but also a beautifully written, clear and very readable text. I have learned a lot, mostly concerning aspects that I didn’t know I didn’t know.

I have always been opposed on moral grounds to shooting for pleasure, but in favour of Pheasant shooting because of its (perceived) benefit to the countryside environment. I am still generally in favour (though with several provisos, after reading your paper), since I have found over the years that, whenever I had cause to question a local farmer’s management plans, and enter into discussion with him and his farm manager, my greatest ally was always the gamekeeper.

I have just read with great interest your BB piece – it strikes me as a full and fair review of this contentious topic.

What is the carbon footprint of Pheasant shooting? It is clearly a totally unsustainable activity (as, mind you, is quite a lot of bird-watching!)

If you’d like a .pdf copy of my British Birds paper then email with the subject PHEASANTS and the Wild Justice team will probably send you one.


7 Replies to “Feedback on Pheasants”

  1. What has amassed me is the huge numbers of birds being put out with no regard for the impact on native wildlife.

  2. Or, instead of emailing Mark, there is the option of subscribing to the journal. It regularly publishes high-quality papers about bird conservation, many of which would probably not otherwise see the light of day. The News & Comment section has frequent updates about raptor persecution and the activities of Wild Justice, among many other topics.

  3. Nice appropriate malapropism I think.
    Presumably amazed but amassed seems better considering the weight of birds

  4. Pheasant release time is one of my favourite times of year… loads of free food gleaned from the local path and road edges from the many who impact a vehicle and end up pretty much uninjured and therefore eatable. Usually coincides with the earliest blackberries and is my harbinge rof autumn proper, marking the end of summer.

    Seriously, I think they have probably kept the local buzzard and Harris’ Hawk population fed over thepast few years, too.

    One thing which I’m not sure hase been really studied in detail is the impact on ancient woodlands – the pens in ancient woodlands really do impact the structure, flora and fauna of ancient woodlands, evenif they dont plant any horrors such as snowberry.

    1. I think it would be great if people looked at their local pheasant shoots and see how many of them have rhododendron, cherry laurel, snowberry, salmonberry, Japanese rose, cotoneaster etc – all plants that have or still are being planted out for cover for the precious pheasant. I believe many woods are choked out with them, but like the now astronomical numbers of pheasants being released, it has crept up on us. Locally snowberry is turning up everywhere and there’s one very large patch of it a few miles from me where it has completely forced out all other plant growth. It’s as bad as rhododendron, but I fear will be even harder to eradicate. Ringing alarm bells about this isn’t easy when some nurseries are still selling snowberry as a cover plant for shoots.

  5. Despite the fact that the release of Pheasants is the beginning of a freezer contents replacement season, I’m not a fan. It means the garden, small holding and adjacent nature reserve will soon be overwhelmed by huge numbers of this bird eating its way through the plants, seeds, fruits and invertebrates that belong here when quite clearly the Pheasant doesn’t, depriving native wildlife of those things. Whatever the shooting fraternity say it shouldn’t be here, especially in these ridiculously high densities. I’d rather the release was strictly controlled or banned completely. No problem with folk who shoot them as long as they use lead free. The ones I eat are invariably lead free.

  6. Of course Boris and his cronies probably plan on removing the “h” from the pheasant season.

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