My husband told me a few weeks ago that a male ringnecked pheasant calls the overgrown area behind our barn "home." Says he's seen him in the pasture a few times. I've looked and looked--I love birds of all kinds, wild and tame--but never seen him. I was aching to see this bird. Yesterday as I was driving home from work about ten miles from home, through a stretch of wild public land, a male pheasant ran out in front of my car. I had time to think "Oh my God, what a beautiful--" before I hit him. I could not brake in time. The thump was heartrending, and in the rearview mirror a cloud of tiny feathers whooshed into the air in my wake. I held in the tears until that night after my daughter was in bed. What a terrible, awful, waste of a precious life. Today I let the chickens out to roam the yard for a few hours like I do almost every afternoon. They wander along the fenceline, under the trees, around the compost, until the sun sets and they fly into the coop, at which point I go outside and shut their door for the night. Today I went out a little before, just to make sure the newest chicken got back in okay. I stood in the gathering twilight watching them hop up into the coop one by one. Everyone was in, even the new girl, except my leghorns Amelia and Esmerelda who were taking their time. As I watched them I heard a rustle through the grass behind me. It sounded exactly like a chicken, and I wondered who I'd missed. I turned around to see a magnificent pheasant running past, across the yard to the pasture fence. He was lovely. Amelia and Esmerelda watched with interest until he was out of sight in the gloom under the pines, then hopped up into the coop. I counted my birds one more time, said goodnight, and shut the door.