A Pheasant Surprise

Whenever I see snow hitting the roof of our glass greenhouse, I can’t help but reminisce about an unusual visitor to our greenhouses one snowy winter.

The story begins with the greenhouses at our old site on Bellerose Drive. Each greenhouse was comprised of galvanized steel arches covered by a double layer of thick, tough, UV-resistant plastic. Air was pumped in between the two layers, creating a 10cm, air-filled gap that provided both insulation from the cold, as well as some structural rigidity to the roof.

One winter night, a particularly heavy snowstorm deposited a two-foot deep layer of snow onto the plastic roof. And while the greenhouse structure was designed to withstand a very heavy snow load, we always inspected our greenhouses carefully after any storm event just to ensure that there was no damage.

But the inspection after this big storm revealed something totally unexpected. When I walked inside one of the snow-laden greenhouses and looked up, I saw a large, hen pheasant splayed out between the two layers of plastic, unable to move. It seems that the hen had decided to seek protection from the winter cold by burying herself deeply into what she thought was just a regular "run of the mill" snowdrift. But this particular snowdrift wasn’t on the ground. Instead, it was 14 feet above the ground, concealing the double layer of plastic that she managed to claw her way through.

After doing a couple of double takes of the distraught pheasant, I got a crew together and we climbed onto the snow-covered roof of the greenhouse to rescue the trapped hen. Once we reached in between the two layers of plastic and set her free, she flew-off none the worse for wear. Although, I swear she had an embarrassed look in her eyes.

Pheasant under glass, I’ve heard about. Pheasant under, or rather in plastic, was a new one for me.

~Jim Hole