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About Pheasants

Copyright © 2009 by Pheathers Artistry, Rajaena Appleby. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/03/09 21:38:30 -0600
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The hardy, ring-neck pheasant originally came from China and is one of the most highly prized game birds.  It was introduced to this continent in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in 1881.  It is the male bird that has the iridescent, exotic-colored feathers.  Pheasants thrive in the grain belt of the Heartland.  Their diet consists of weeds, seeds, waste grains, plant buds, leaves, insects, wild fruits, and berries.


The most definable feature of the rink-neck pheasant is the white band of feathers around the neck.  These feathers are extremely small; there are greenish-blue feathers around the ring of the same size.  The tips of these feathers are only 3/8” long.   


By far the most identifiable feathers associated with pheasants are the breast feathers.  They start right below the white rings at the neck and vary from a ruddy red with purple reflections to a rusty brown color and then to a golden yellow color.  Most of the breast feathers are edged in bluish-black tips varying in thickness.


Over the back of the pheasant beyond the white ring are gold feathers that have various designs etched in black within the feather and the edge as well.  These feathers transform into brown-edged feathers with a creamy center and an extremely defined pattern.


Hidden under the breast and toward the back on the underneath side one finds very dark blue feathers.  On the back toward the tail, there are green and blue feathers some having a defined pattern and contour while many do not, yet they all offer opportunities for achieving my overall designs.


Also at the back toward the tail, semiplume feathers are found.  They have no distinct, contoured shape and usually have very little pattern on them.  There are an abundance of colors—red, rust, black, blue, green, gold, and various color combinations.


On the wings a fairly strong feather with a dark rusty brown and yellow combination offers a linear design.  Close to where the wing attaches to the body of the bird, a few gray feathers are found.  Finally, all birds have down feathers that are soft and fluffy.  I use these sparingly, but do sometimes leave some of the downy part of the colored feathers on for a particular effect.


Feathers become worn and battered and are replaced by a bird once or twice a year.  Although the shapes and contour of feathers doesn’t change from pheasant to pheasant, the colors and patterns can change.  This can be due to a number of reasons, not the least of which would be the types of food consumed. 
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