National Roast Pheasant Day is celebrated every year on October 15 in the U.K. It’s a day dedicated to roast pheasant. Also known as the ring-necked pheasant or common pheasant, the pheasant is a native Asian bird brought to Europe and the West during the 18th century. It belongs to the Phasianidae family of birds. The pheasant is a wild bird, and this holiday is dedicated to teaching people the proper way to roast it. Pheasants have delicate, pinkish meat that is mild in flavor, with a more distinct taste than chicken.
History of National Roast Pheasant Day
The pheasant is a wild bird from Asia but has been in Europe for quite a long time. Evidence obtained from Roman archeology sites suggests that the caucasian species of the pheasant bird was first introduced to the British by the Romans as game birds, but there is little evidence to back this claim. After the Romans left, the bird became extinct for quite some time, as the first evidence of pheasants in Britain came in 1059 when King Harold offered the canons of Waltham Abbey a common pheasant instead of the usual brace of partridge as a privilege of their office.
Another record of pheasants surfaced in 1089 when the monks of Rochester received 16 pheasants as gifts. Much later, the Normans made pheasants popular as game birds in the 11th century. Gradually, the bird moved from the U.K. to the U.S. The English Blackneck pheasants were the first breed to be brought into North America by the governors of New York and New Jersey in 1773. In 1789, George Washington imported the American ruffed grouse, and in 1881, Owen Nickerson Denny imported the Chinese ring-necked pheasants into his native Oregon. From then on, new breeds started to appear.
In the U.K., pheasants are now one of the most common birds and can be found almost everywhere. Though they became largely forgotten and locally extinct, their popularity was revived in the 19th century, and gamekeepers extensively reared them. The traditional way to prepare pheasants is by roasting, hence the name National Roast Pheasant Day instead of just National Pheasant Day.
National Roast Pheasant Day timeline
The Normans bring pheasants to the U.K.
George Washington imports the ruffed grouse pheasant into Mt. Vernon.
Pheasants become popular in the U.K. and are reared extensively by gamekeepers.
Owen Nickerson Denny brings the Chinese ring-necked pheasants to Oregon.
National Roast Pheasant Day FAQs
Can pheasant meat be boiled?
Yes, pheasant meat can be boiled.
Why are there few pheasant farms?
It is very expensive to run a pheasant farm, and since they’re wild birds, a license must be obtained first.
Can pheasants fly?
Yes, they can fly. Usually, they fly short but fast flights to escape a threat or danger.
National Roast Pheasant Day Activities
Visit a pheasant farm
Celebrate by visiting a pheasant farm to see how these delicious birds are raised. Make that visit today!
Roast a pheasant
What better way to celebrate National Roast Pheasant Day than to roast a pheasant yourself? Roast a pheasant and invite your family and friends to enjoy.
Share what you know
Let everyone know what's being celebrated by using the hashtag #nationalroastpheasantday. Better yet, post a link to this article online.
5 Interesting Facts About Pheasants
The British brought pheasants to North America
Pheasants and most wild birds were brought to America from British game farm importations.
Male and female pheasants differ
Unlike most birds, male and female pheasants do not look alike and can be easily distinguished.
Ring-necked pheasants feed according to season
Ring-necked pheasants eat more seeds and grains in the winter but prefer to eat insects in the summer.
Pheasants have seasons
In the U.K., pheasant shooting season begins on October 1 and ends at the beginning of February.
The pheasant is a state bird
The pheasant is the state bird of South Dakota, making it one of three non-native birds to be named a state bird.
Why We Love National Roast Pheasant Day
Pheasant meat is scrumptious
Pheasant meat is known to be very delicious, with a more distinct taste compared to chickens. Pheasant meals give our palates new flavors to enjoy.
Awareness is raised
Every year, more people learn about pheasants. They also appreciate what a blessing these birds have been to our tables.
Hunters are skilled
Pheasant shooting is an activity that has its own unique etiquette. This day is a chance to recognize the skilled hunters that make pheasants available to the rest of the world.
National Roast Pheasant Day dates