I have no idea why this red-legged partridge decided to visit the Farrell domain. I don’t believe I have ever seen a sign of one around Wenlock’s field margins, although it ought to be ideal territory. They apparently like open farm terrain and feed on seeds, roots and small invertebrates. Also when disturbed they prefer to run rather than fly.
Yet here was this one, having clearly flown, atop the old garden privies (now sheds) and showing off for all the world to see. It was there for ages too, giving me ample opportunity to snap away from the bedroom window. The light was perfect, a crisp March morning last year. I watched while it scanned the neighbourhood, and at one point went in for some loud hallooing partridge style. I wondered if it was advertising for a mate. In any event none appeared, not unless it was running-not-flying over in the field and I couldn’t see it. So the mystery was never solved and after a quarter of an hour the visitor departed, never to be seen since, which is a pity. A partridge on the privy would be a pleasing garden addition.
The red-legged partridge has French origins and was introduced to the British Isles in the 1700s as a new game bird for land-owner shooting types. It apparently has over 73,000 breeding sites in England, Wales and lowland Scotland, and is a much more colourful character than the UK’s native Grey Partridge.