The oldest pheasants on the bird farm are turning three months old and are starting to show their secondary sex characteristics. The young roosters, or “the boys” as I like to think of them, are by far my favorite. Just looking at this guy, you can see a glimmer of the beautiful, ornate wild bird he will become. His red eye patch is evident, and you can start to discern the white collar developing around his neck for which his species is named. His other feathers are coloring up, and the iridescent green is starting to pop on his neck.
But more so than looks, it is their behavior that I enjoy watching the most. These young roosters are discovering their bravado. They will strut up to inspect me or follow me in the pens. They are all swagger and brawn until they realize how big I am, then they jump in the air, tuck tail and find some cover. I like to watch them engage one another, strutting and bumping into each other in some sort of dominance ritual I still don’t understand. They will run each other out of a preferred dusting bowl or spot on the shade, similar to my teenage nephews jockeying for a prime spot on Nana’s couch.
The roosters are also starting to find their crow, but it’s not quite there, so halfway through their voice will crack. I hear a lot of “ER-ER-ER-ER-Eruahhgggaaa.”
I guess that boys, regardless of species, will always be boys.