The Gatekeeper

Our post lady is very sweet. As we are some distance from the road the intercom sounds about 12.30 p.m., most days, with a cheery “Good Afternoon, Post…”. It saves unnecessary journeys up the hill. Except one day last week there was more: “Be careful when you come up. There’s a pheasant up here acting very strangely. It chased me down the track and now it’s attacking the tyres of my van….”

Oh dear. And it was not to end there.

A carpenter came round to replace the architrave on the back door. Obviously he had to come down the steps. And I’d forgotten to warn him..

Neighbour Trevor’s wife found herself under siege in her own front garden, with only a pair of secateurs to defend her..

Coming out of the drive one day I saw another poor lady whose only crime had been to drive her Honda down the road, now with the pheasant in hot pursuit..

And I shall never forget the sight of the DHL man wielding a curtain pole, Darth Vader style, at a bird little over 12 inches high.

But our avian chum saves his best for the grocery delivery. Perhaps he can smell the food in the van. A lady driver, once pecked twice shy, refused to open her door until reassured that the pheasant was nowhere to be seen. She was replaced by ‘Big Jim’, whose misfortune was to back the van farther down the drive than is the norm. The pheasant appeared from nowhere, hurtled through the gap between me and Mike and then launched a furious attack on Jim’s feet. Delivering our shopping may now be on a volunteer only basis. At this rate we may even get struck off.


The Gatekeeper

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2017-11-09T20:25:54+00:00February 13th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. john February 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    i cant wait to see the postmans supervisor when the bird has been part of the documented risk assessment they all have to do ….

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      Oh dear..

  2. Sue February 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    I think a shotgun may be the only answer, just wave it in his direction or fire off a warning shot, he has to know that if he comes between a girl and her food delivery he may very well end up being the food himself !!

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      I couldn’t eat one..

  3. Em February 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    Roast? Delicious.

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm - Reply


  4. Denise February 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    I can send you a recipe for game pie…

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm - Reply


  5. Simone February 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Do you know if pheasants eat mice by any chance?!!!

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      I have seen Ptolemy with a dead mouse… but they don’t seem to be a staple part of the pheasant’s diet. Unfortunately.

  6. haggiz February 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    You have the funniest wildlife down your way, ours are very boring here! Julie x

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      Or pain in the a*se..

  7. BadPenny February 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    so sorry but I can’t stop laughing !

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      I have to say, the DHL man WAS funny..

  8. Anne February 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    Hilarious ……. doesn’t he know that it’s the peasants, not the pheasants, who revolt!!

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      I just wish he’d find a mate, then perhaps he’ll be kept busy in the shrubbery.

  9. Sarah February 13, 2013 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    What in the world is going on there! I haven’t laughed this hard in the longest time! I’m sure it’s probably not that funny for you or for your callers . . . . Maybe there’a pregnant momma around somewhere or babies that he’s protecting?

    I’ve been thoroughly entertained with your stories of your wildlife friends. 🙂

    • Jessica February 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      He is certainly protecting his territory. And how.
      Thank you Sarah!

  10. elizabethm February 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    This is very surprising. The pheasants round our way simply spend a lot of time running into the road and trying to kill themselves with a fair degree of success. Perhaps yours is an evolutionary step forward.

    • Jessica February 14, 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

      If our bird tries to take on Big Jim again I fear the outcome may be similar..

  11. Rosie February 14, 2013 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Good Grief – you could write ‘The Adventures of Ptolemy’ if it is him of course or is it another pheasant? I keep thinking of ‘1066 and All that’ and for Pheasant read Peasant and etc. He is certainly revolting against your visitors in a big way! Perhaps he’ll calm down after Spring?

    • Jessica February 14, 2013 at 10:04 am - Reply

      I don’t think it is Ptolemy, although I can’t be certain. That really would be biting off the hand that fed it..
      Last summer the pheasants were quite amenable so I’m hoping it is just a ‘phase’!!

  12. Anny February 14, 2013 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Your pheasant should come to the delinquent dog club with our furry psychopath, he’d fit in very well…

    • Jessica February 14, 2013 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Your dog does sound ‘troubled’ Anny. I hope he settles!

  13. Wendy February 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    I loved reading about the pheasant terrorising your visitors – although, from what you say, I don’t think they would think it as funny as I do. This bird is certainly “punching above his weight” and I have to admit, I do admire him for that (but then again, he’s not chasing me)

    • Jessica February 14, 2013 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      He does appear totally fearless, it’s difficult to know what to do. I don’t want to hurt him by hitting him too hard with my defensive stick, but don’t want to get pecked either! I’ve just stayed off his patch as much as possible and hope he will settle down.

  14. 1gus1 February 14, 2013 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Perhaps you could provide small bags of pheasant fancies at the top of your steps to encourage your guard pheasant to regard other people as friends rather than enemies . . . I did laugh, though. Who knew that pheasants could be as efficient and effective as geese?

    • Jessica February 14, 2013 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      Hmmm. I hadn’t thought of the carrot approach.
      Geese still have the edge. They are stroppy all year round..!!

  15. Judith February 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    I am making notes and preparing a defensive armoury now I have stopped laughing. Our version of Ptolemy (Lofty) waited for the shooting season to stop and is now strutting his stuff in our garden every day. No attacks yet but he does shout at us. The females queue up by the back door for food.

    • Jessica February 15, 2013 at 9:50 am - Reply

      We don’t seem to have many females. I’ve only seen two. But we have 12 cock birds!! I suppose it is no wonder they are on the stroppy side..

  16. Josephine February 15, 2013 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Ooh dear Jessica, things are getting worse up your way !
    It appears you are not alone in this seige, as documented by the ITV news.

    You may have to trap and relocate him, to a more remote part of the countryside, is this possible ?
    Do be careful…

    • Jessica February 15, 2013 at 9:59 am - Reply

      Ha Ha!!! Thanks for the link Jo, that is so funny!
      Funnily enough, when it all started Mike was wearing a red jacket. And ours has also attacked the (red) post van. There may be something in the ‘rival male’ theory.

  17. Gill February 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    and here I thought my mice troubles were bad. Never seen a pheasant around here, just the odd turkey!!

    Thanks for popping by my blog,


    • Jessica February 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Gill and welcome to rusty duck.
      I thought I recognised a kindred spirit…!

  18. Annie @ knitsofacto February 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    The pheasants here are more like Elizabeth’s, and she lives not so far from me … there must be something about Welsh game birds that makes them suicidal … living with the Welsh perhaps? 😉

    • Jessica February 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Yorkshire too… I had to laugh at Jo’s link of the pheasant hurling itself at the moving post van. Not a good evolutionary strategy there either!

  19. Cumbrian February 16, 2013 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Wouldn’t know what to suggest, usual solution being a nice roast pheasant Sunday dinner, but you don’t want that.
    Something needs done though, it might be a small child it attacks next and hurts badly, as you’ve noticed, their peck can hurt.

    • Jessica February 16, 2013 at 9:43 am - Reply

      Thankfully most of the time it stays within our boundary, there are only two other houses close by and no small children. But yes, you are right. It is a problem. Walkers and visitors wouldn’t know to look out for it.

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