A male ring-necked pheasant, like used to be extremely common in SE Pennsylvania when I was a boy.
This Sunday morning while enjoying that first mug of coffee, I overheard a couple of blue jays squawking just outside the window of our temporary diggs here outside of East Lansing, Michigan. The mind is a funny thing, because my first thought was of the many ring-necked pheasants years ago when I was a boy and teenager in southeastern Pennsylvania, especially during Late October-Early December each year, when it seemed that you could not swing a dead cat without either seeing or hearing them. Ring-necked pheasants that is. As a toddler and very small child, according to good ol' Mom, I referred to them collectively as Silly Pheasant, a generic name that remained in use among the family for many years thereafter especially once the weather cooled in the fall.
The corn had been harvested by that point, the leaves were mostly off the trees, and the landscape was beginning to look decidedly wintry. I guess it was easier to see and notice the birds given the lack of vegetation, and of course the hunters were out with their dogs flushing the birds from their hiding places. I was informed a couple of years ago, before he died, by fellow blogger Mainline Sportsman that the ring-necked pheasant is no longer stocked by the state of Pennsylvania in the great numbers that it was at one time, so the bird has become much less common, which is a bit sad. I will forever associate the ring-necked pheasant and its distinct metallic call with the late fall, my favorite season of the year.
On a completely different note, I finally managed to find a place online -- Basket Code -- that produces sets of blazer buttons featuring the crests and mottos of American universities. Yes! So, although they are a bit dear, I will purchase a set for my Alma Mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and have a tailor sew them onto my summer-weight three-button blazer that gets used about six months of the year. These will replace a set of plasticy looking buttons that I've never been entirely happy with, but they were what was available when one of the original brass-edged buttons came off and disappeared before I noticed nine or ten years ago.