Carrying on with the "feathers" theme, Chuck has taken up residence in and around our back yard. As near as we can tell, Chuck is either a young male or a female pheasant. My friend Judy from church, who's a bird watcher, confirmed our suspicions when I showed her the pictures I took. I think he likes our yard because there are plenty of places to hide, and his presence satisfies my goal of having a wildlife-friendly yard. Judy said that young birds aren't always that savvy and don't always do the safest things, but I think our yard is actually a pretty good choice: no pesticides, plenty to eat, lots of cover, and chickens for company. We've been keeping a plastic bowl full of chicken feed right outside the coop for him (her?) to eat. There are some critters that I wouldn't want in my yard, but having a resident pheasant is pretty cool.
(Chuck's hiding there in the center of the picture, partially hidden by a branch of the red-berried shrub. Sadly, after the hard freeze last week, the red berries are now black. They were one of my favorite parts of winter. They ripen in November, and when they're ripe they exactly match my kitchen floor. The shrub dominates the view out my kitchen window, but this year I only got to enjoy the flood of scarlet for about two weeks before the frost zapped them. There'll be nothing for the robins to eat in January, either. Usually that shrub [a Chinese cononeaster, in case you were curious] is a bird buffet.)