A COCK YEAR.
A keeper of my acquaintance bred this last year a good many pheasants, and bred them very successfully ; but his birds exhibited an anomaly. Out of every ten eight were cocks. Nor was this the end of the mystery. The wild birds on the estate greatly outnumber the tame ; and the immense excess of cocks is as conspicuous among the wild as the tame. So far as I could test the matter, I should corroborate. I reckoned that the cocks were certainly in as large a proportion as seven to two. In the first little copse we disturbed three cocks flew out and one hen ; and in the next seven cocks and no hen. Can it be that sex is determined in any way by weather ? Are there, so to say, cock years and hen years ? It would be interesting to know if other game preservers had noticed any unusual percentage of cock birds. I certainly noticed it myself on one estate in the Midlands.