Editor's letter (March 5 issue)

The first time I saw a pheasant in the wild was a rather magical experience. This most amazingly beautiful long-tailed bird was strutting by the roadside somewhere in deepest, darkest Scotland, pecking at the verge – only to disappear in a flash as we drove by.
For a few moments I wasn’t sure if I had dreamed it. Surely big, chestnut-coloured birds didn’t just wander around the countryside willy-nilly?
I’ve been fascinated by pheasants ever since but, sadly, we don’t always have room to feature articles about them in the pages of this newspaper. And it can be difficult to find people willing to write about them with passion and knowledge.
That’s why we’ve gone all-out in this issue, with not only three articles about keeping this gamebird in captivity, but a picture of one on the cover too.
Pheasants may have a reputation for being secretive, nervous creatures, but they’re easy to keep if you have plenty of room. This proviso may partly explain why they’re not quite as popular as they once were: increasing population densities in the suburbs means we don’t have the space we once had to keep them in the average suburban garden.
Still, judging by the enthusiasm of Zoe Hunter (see page 14), there’s still a passion for these wonderful birds out there, and we’d be interested in knowing whether you, too, want to read more about them in future issues. Do let me know.
We’ll be talking pheasants again in our May 7 issue when the question of whether they are falling out of favour is the subject of our Hot Debate. As per usual, we’d love to know your thoughts on this. Pen us 50 words and we’ll include it under our “Have Your Say” banner.
In the meantime, enjoy the issue!