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The Lady Amherst Pheasant

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Last updated March 2011

At Point Pelee

Glamour and Glitz with the Star of the Day

Photographed and filmed during spring time in the most important bird migration spot in Canada – the Point Pelee National Park.

Feedback From Our Readers: The Ring-Necked Pheasant is a Lady Amherst Pheasant
Dan pointed us in the right direction in identifying this bird as a Lady Amherst Pheasant – please see his observation below.

Hello Mike, Dan here. I have enjoyed your video of the pheasant hen at Point Pelee National Park. It has been several months ago that I first seen your video, then I realized that the bird was an Amherst Pheasant hen and a good and typical representation of the species. Strange to meet a bird of such quality being out and about. Such birds are usually housed in stable aviaries in private collections or at zoos. Still she is an Amherst and since it has been such a while I thought that I would mention it. She is pure and typical and not some hybrid, which makes the video useful to one interested in this species. cheers.

Although it was a day scheduled for birdsong photography, strong and cold winds kept their activity to a minimum – at least on the Point Pelee tip where this story unfolds.

From early morning, birders and photographers were pouring in with high hopes, just to leave in a hurry to more protected areas of the park. No bird songs could be heard that morning, just the sound of crashing waves.

That is when a female Lady Amherst Pheasant made her appearance on the tip. She was grazing in the woods unafraid of the people around. And for the next hour, a trail of photographers formed and followed her every move – the bird paparazzi. Considering she was the only bird attraction of that morning, you could say she was the star of the day.

Lady Amherst Pheasant Female at Point Pelee, Ontario
Lady Amherst Pheasant Female Portrait – Canon 1Ds Mark II with 500 mm F4 lens


Flirting with the cameras – Video of the Lady Amherst Pheasant
The video shows the Pheasant female grazing on the Point Pelee tip, during spring migration, and completely unafraid of the deluge of shutters and flashes. You can hear the waves in the background, as we ran into the pheasant only a few meters from the tip's east shore. Throughout the video she searches the ground for plant seeds and insects and from time to time calls for a potential male. She moves around and between the trails – you can see in one instance how she traverses a trail in a hurry, just a few feet from a photographer. Although at times she takes advantage of the park trails, she doesn’t linger and quickly blends into the vegetation. In the last minutes of the video, to the surprise of everybody around, she climbs a perch perfectly positioned for a portrait session. There, she relaxes, preens and simply allows everybody enjoy her glamour. Beautiful.

Movie duration: 6:48, filmed with Canon XH-A1 in HDV 1080i

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