A bird in the hand, so the old adage goes, is worth two in a bush.
It sprang to mind recently thanks to an unscheduled autumnal visitor we have on the premises. Well, not in the house, but in the Great Outdoors, aka our garden.
He (or she) is a feathered friend who first made its presence known a couple of weeks back.
My wife, who wields the fork and spade and calls the shots on all things vegetable or floral, spotted it first. It actually caused some alarm as it announced itself by making a loud rustling sound in the middle of our runner beans.
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It finally emerged to show its true colours, which were, mainly, brown, save for a glorious mottled white ruff around the neck.
Now, this was no small bird. It was the size of a small Christmas turkey, I guess, with a rather sweeping tail. At first we thought it had come from the nearby river but the fact the feet weren't webbed quickly knocked that theory on the head. Intriguingly, it was not at all phased by us being in close proximity and when my wife returned with some bird seed it did something even more remarkable. It approached, quite brazenly, and actually fed out of her hand.
Anyhow, we left it to its own devices, thinking it would depart the scene any time soon, but that hasn't happened.
Although we didn't see it for a couple of days, our neighbours did. It befriended them, too. Even hopping up on to their car roof with its large scratchy feet.
Ever since it has come and gone from the garden. But it was pushing its luck with its latest visitation.
My wife had spent hours and hours planting hundreds of spring bulbs, when, out of the blue, our new feathered friend put in yet another appearance. Instantly it set to work scratching and digging in the newly turned earth. The bulbs were dug up and it began eating them. Such audacious behaviour did not impress my wife and was akin to biting the hand that had fed it. In an attempt to thwart any return visit, the newly planted area is now covered with a mass of sticks.
Local opinion thinks its some sort of cross between a pheasant and a peacock. Personally, I'm hoping it's a large pheasant because if it carries on pushing its luck it could find itself getting a real roasting. Turkey-style.