Re: Golden Pheasant, Portland

Subject: Re: Golden Pheasant, Portland
From: Pat Macwhirter <>
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 18:39:21 +1100
>On Sunday 13 Dec. a male Golden Pheasant fled across a track into thinned
>pine plantations near Heywood in SW Victoria. It was obviously wild, not a
>recent escapee. (I have seen a recent escapee near Melbourne, and it was
>tame.) This species is feral in pines in Europe, so I wonder if the same
>could be true here. Any comment? Thanks, Richard.

I can see William Lyall, a founding member of the Acclimatisation Society up there on high reading your posting, Richard, and saying 'You beaut! At last we finally cracked it!'.... Too bad about the starlings and the sparrows.

>From the diaries and family memoirs -

At his property at "Tooradin", William Lyall liberated pheasants and partridges in 1863, but he was always of the opinion that the dingoes had accounted for the loss of every one of them. When the family moved to "Harewood" in 1868, Silver and Golden China pheasants were liberated there and were seen for some years afterwards thriving in the tea-tree scrub, but were subsequently shot by trespassers. The following incident illustrates this:

One day a man arrived at "Harewood", holding two pheasants he had shot, and asked - "What kind of birds are those?" William Lyall replied: "You confounded idiot, they were my pheasants!" At "Harewood" there were also guinea-fowls and peacocks.


Patricia Macwhirter BVSc (Hons), MA, FACVSc (Bird Medicine)
Highbury Veterinary Clinic, 128 Highbury Road, BURWOOD, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 9808 9011 Fax: (03) 9888 7134

(ps my family currently owns Harewood))

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