I've mentioned this bird before to y'all, but didn't really spend an appropriate amount of time evaluating the subject.
So at Pioneer Park aviary here in W2, we have a large waterfowl and peacock enclosure that sits next to a bunch of separate pheasant hutches.
In one of these used to be a pair of Chinese mountain pheasants that here in the states we call Blue Eared Pheasant. They pretty much live like a kiwi bird, except they are middle to high altitude favoring animals, and share the characteristics of rooting and weak wings. Blue eared pheasants are not flightless, but rarely venture into the open and are a prowling, rooting bird of remarkable intelligence, considering it belongs to the otherwise aggressive and aloof pheasant group.
I noticed after the loss of one of the two pheasants, the lone bird seemed increasingly quiet and sedentary. So I tried to spend more time at its hutch over the last 8 months or so, more lately I suppose.
It did eventually take a liking to me in spite of my lack of food. I have yet to determine the sex of the bird, but it's probably a female based on how laid back it is. I've been wrong before though, lol.
This week when it was near 40 degrees, the strange little golden pheasants next door, who are vastly dimorphic and primitive compared to the more intelligent and monogamous blue eared pheasant, were apparently in heat. Lmao!! The rooster was jumping all over, doing 180s with his 3-4 foot tail, and totally pestering the beleaguered hen. She wanted none of it, heh.
Well funny enough, the blue eared pheasant stood right against the fencing and watched as if it was the most fascinating soap opera. The golden cock ran over a few times to interact with her when the hen rebuffed him. The blue one stood really still and seemed to mildly appreciate his interest.
Well today we got a huge snow. The temperature was not terribly low, however, hovering around 35 degrees perhaps? Or just at 32 not sure really. Anyhow, I checked on the birds because it was an annoying, soaking, blanketing snow that the Eskimos probably have a few dirty words for... haha. And it blows in at an angle and screws up the hutches.
Well, my little blue friend was on the opposite side of his or her hutch, near the personnel door and entrance to her shelter closet and feed. This species hates to be damp. Well, because there were not many other people to make noise and tire the birds, she was extremely interactive.
I talked about how it would be nice if more things grew in her cage to eat. She walked right over to the green plastic I was talking about and rooted right next to it. I indicated sadness that the plants grew on the wrong side.
Also when I said Don't get cold and wet etc, she walked back to the dry spot and displayed her feathers on her left side, like a waterfowl after a bath.
It was amazing and cute, and I was of course humbled by the bird's apparent grasp of English. I talked for a while longer then buzzed off to leave her be, and checked out the duckpond.
Shortly after this, I started worrying about the Canada goose with a crippled wing that has taken up residence. A sign says not to feed the birds and she's getting pretty hungry.
About a minute later, the goose emerged from the distant brushy island, crossed the pond, climbed out into the snow, and begged from me.
It was so GD sad. I did not have food but she seemed satisfied with the attention and apology for laughing at her last week before I saw the broken wing.
Animals are far more sensitive and intelligent than people think.