By Mike Johnson

My favorite bird based on the feel of springtime rebirth is the Robin.
My favorite bird based on the peaceful sounds of cattailed waterways is the Red-Winged Blackbird.
My favorite bird based on agricultural adventure and raw beauty is the Pheasant.

Iíve looked into hatching pheasant eggs and releasing them in the wild. Wyoming has some wild pheasants but they arenít common in most areas due to their habitat needs.

They winter well, with large populations in colder states like Minnesota and South Dakota.

But the survival rate of farm-raised pheasants is not high when released in the wild. Just four percent. Plus their average lifespan is only three years in the wild. They can live 11-18 years in captivity.

But keeping them indoors presents challenges too. Males are territorial. Some chicks turn cannibalistic. They need lots of space with covered pens so they donít fly away.

So I've passed on raising pheasants.

Iíve also considering building an aviary in the house but other bird species are not particularly happy being caged.

So I just admire birds in the wild, in photography and in art.

There are many things in life that you cannot, and should not, own.

But you can still own appreciation and admiration.

This avoids the upkeep, expense and the moral challenges of captivity.

In youth, if I loved something, I was compelled to acquire it. With age and wisdom, I study the ramifications for all concerned.

Sometimes, it's wisest to confine your love to just appreciation and admiration.


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