Meadowgate's picture

Urban Pheasant Puzzle

Observed: 12th February 2011 By: MeadowgateMeadowgate’s reputation in Birds

This pheasant appeared in our school playground on 12-2-11. When we approached it flew up onto a wall then later flew across a road, on to a low roof then flew towards a railway embankment and out of sight. This is an inner city area. We do not think that there are any captive birds in the area. Our question is what is it doing here? Does it look like a wild bird?

Species interactions

No interactions present.


anonymous spotter's picture


Try editing the observation and re-attach it.

Ray Turner's picture


You will be surprised at what turns up in an urban environment. Having had a quick look at your location I suspect the solution is the railway lines nearby (which you mention), these wild tracts provide conduits for all sorts of wildlife.

I regularly commute between Balham and Croydon and have seen pheasants a number of times just outside Balham station.


anonymous spotter's picture

Urban pheasants -

May just be the next in a string of plants and animals that have found the urban environment to their liking.
As Mr Turner points out, railway lines and canals are the ways in to the city for several species. Pheasants can also, of course, fly. Many years ago an owl was found, apparently dazed by the experience but otherwise unhurt; perched on the buffers of a railway carriage, having seemingly travelled many miles in this position.
Wild predators are replaced by domestic cats, traffic, and unfriendly humans, but for many this seems to be a good deal. Food is often easier to come by, and shelter is also readily available. There are still guns around, but for the most part they aren't being pointed at pheasants!
Interestingly, urban foxes (which would be a problem for the pheasants) suffer vitamin deficiencies due to their junk-food-leftover diet. Be warned!

Meadowgate's picture

Urban pheasants and foxes

I've just realised that the picture did not upload so I have now added it. Yes I thought about the railway lines & also that this pheasant would have to watch out for the high fox population around here. I have seen urban foxes carrying dead birds, for example I saw one recently with a blackbird. I have also seen them carrying rats on a couple of occasions and of course some people lose rabbits and chickens to them in cities but, as you say, there is plenty of discarded junk food around for them to eat