Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 1. January, 1897 No. 1
THE GOLDEN PHEASANT
They call me the Golden Pheasant, because I have a golden crest. It is like a king’s crown. Don’t you think my dress is beautiful enough for a king?
See the large ruff around my neck. I can raise and lower it as I please.
I am a very large bird. I am fourteen inches tall and twenty-eight inches long. I can step right over your little robins and meadow larks and blue jays and not touch them.
Sometimes people get some of our eggs and put them under an old hen. By and by little pheasants hatch out, and the hen is very good to them. She watches over them and feeds them, but they do not wish to stay with her; they like their wild life. If they are not well fed they will fly away.
I have a wife. Her feathers are beginning to grow like mine. In a few years she will look as I do. We like to have our nests by a fallen tree.
HE well-known Chinese Pheasant, which we have named the Golden Pheasant, as well as its more sober-colored cousin, the Silver Pheasant, has its home in Eastern Asia.
China is pre-eminently the land of Pheasants; for, besides those just mentioned, several other species of the same family are found there. Japan comes next to China as a pheasant country and there are some in India.
In China the Golden Pheasant is a great favorite, not only for its splendid plumage and elegant form, but for the excellence of its flesh, which is said to surpass even that of the common pheasant. It has been introduced into Europe, but is fitted only for the aviary.
For purposes of the table it is not likely to come into general use, as there are great difficulties in the way of breeding it in sufficient numbers, and one feels a natural repugnance to the killing of so beautiful a bird for the sake of eating it. The magnificent colors belong only to the male, the female being reddish brown, spotted and marked with a darker hue. The tail of the female is short. The statement is made, however, that some hens kept for six years by Lady Essex gradually assumed an attire like that of the males.
Fly-fishers highly esteem the crest and feathers on the back of the neck of the male, as many of the artificial baits owe their chief beauty to the Golden Pheasant.
According to Latham, it is called by the Chinese Keuki, or Keukee, a word which means gold flower fowl.
“A merry welcome to thee, glittering bird!
Lover of summer flowers and sunny things!
A night hath passed since my young buds have heard
The music of thy rainbow-colored wings—
Wings that flash spangles out where’er they quiver,
Like sunlight rushing o’er a river.”
What a beautiful bird. I am glad in 2012 that birds are not used for their feathers as much as they were back in the 1800’s. I’ve noticed in the first articles how the birds mentioned are either caged, captive, eaten or their feathers used for hats and other uses. Man was given dominion over the animals and are allowed to eat them, but I still like to see them out and about freely flying.
For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head. (Psalms 21:3 NKJV)
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8 NKJV)
The Golden Pheasant or “Chinese Pheasant”, (Chrysolophus pictus) is a gamebird of the order Galliformes (gallinaceous birds) and the family Phasianidae. It is native to forests in mountainous areas of western China but feral populations have been established in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
The adult male is 35.4-41.3 in (90–105 cm) in length, its tail accounting for two-thirds of the total length. It is unmistakable with its golden crest and rump and bright red body. The deep orange “cape” can be spread in display, appearing as an alternating black and orange fan that covers all of the face except its bright yellow eye, with a pinpoint black pupil.
Males have a golden-yellow crest with a hint of red at the tip. The face, throat, chin, and the sides of neck are rusty tan. The wattles and orbital skin are both yellow in colour, and the ruff or cape is light orange. The upper back is green and the rest of the back and rump are golden-yellow in colour. The tertiaries are blue whereas the scapulars are dark red. Another characteristic of the male plumage is the central tail feathers which are black spotted with cinnamon as well as the tip of the tail being a cinnamon buff. The upper tail coverts are the same colour as the central tail feathers. Males also have a scarlet breast, and scarlet and light chestnut flanks and underparts. Lower legs and feet are a dull yellow.
The female (hen) is much less showy, with a duller mottled brown plumage similar to that of the female Common Pheasant. She is darker and more slender than the hen of that species, with a proportionately longer tail (half her 60–80 cm length). The female’s breast and sides are barred buff and blackish brown, and the abdomen is plain buff. She has a buff face and throat. Some abnormal females may later in their lifetime get some male plumage. Lower legs and feet are a dull yellow.
Both males and females have yellow legs and yellow bills.
Despite the male’s showy appearance, these hardy birds are very difficult to see in their natural habitat, which is dense, dark young conifer forests with sparse undergrowth. Consequently, little is known of their behaviour in the wild.
They feed on the ground on grain, leaves and invertebrates, but roost in trees at night. While they can fly, they prefer to run: but if startled they can suddenly burst upwards at great speed, with a distinctive wing sound.
The Golden Pheasant is commonly found in zoos and aviaries, but often as impure specimens that have the similar Lady Amherst’s Pheasant in their lineage. (Wikipedia)
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction
The above article is the third article in the monthly serial that was started in January 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)
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