Pheasants, Partridges, and Grouse
I was half-way through signing up as McGillycuddy Partridge when it asked for credit card info, and I says to meself, "Sean", I says, cause that's me name, "y'ain't putting yer credit card info in there is yer, lad?" and I says "No", I says to meself, and that was that.
I'd previously wanted to use Alan Partridge as the name, but obviously that one was taken. Even Allan Partridge and Alann Partridge were taken, so the whole enterprise was futile. I searched dict.org for some more partridge names and was almost going to sign up as Spruce Partridge until I realised that that was a tree, and Wood Partridge until I realised that it wasn't really any less absurd. Not that I was taking it particularly seriously.
So then I had to check out Wikipedia's information about partridges, and got led to a page about the Crested Wood Partridge, which in turn mentioned a book called Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse by Madge and McGowan (ISBN 0713639660), which has a wonderful subtitle: "Including Buttonquails, Sandgrouse and Allies". I'd not heard of the Buttonquail before, but apparently it's a flight-avoiding bird somewhat like the grouse that is also known as a hemipodes.
As for pheasant, Google reports that it tastes like either chicken or pork. I'm not quite sure how there can be any confusion there. Even better is Wikipedia's picture of an engraving in Le Livre du Roy Modus (The Book of the Hunt of King Modus), by Henry de Ferrières in the the 1370s. It shows a pheasant being intrigued by its own reflection in a mirror and walking into a trap.
These days we just shoot pheasant. According to a PDF at animalaid.org.uk, the pheasant "may now be destined for extinction as a truly wild bird", which is a great shame. Britain's already lost quite a lot of wildlife such as the wolf (okay, it did make it safer to walk around) and the wild boar (same here), but to lose the partridge would be really sad.
The same report says that it costs £1000 per person per day to shoot for pheasant, though, which means that as a legal activity it's still very much an upper class thing. So I've only shot pheasant on a few occasions, myself; each time with a camera.
Cite: Palmer, S.B. (2005). "Pheasants, Partridges, and Grouse", in: What Planet is This?
Archival URI: http://inamidst.com/notes/buttonquail