Philippe the golden pheasant is back home in Lantzville after being caught at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove mall today, May 7, after escaping a week and a half earlier. Photo submitted

Escaped pheasant caught at Vancouver Island mall after a week-long chase

‘He just wanted a little adventure,’ say bird’s Lantzville owners

A golden pheasant has been reunited with its owners after a week-long chase ended this morning at a Nanaimo mall.

The bird, Philippe, is back home in Lantzville after it flew away and went missing April 28. For more than a week, Lantzville neighbours had been keeping an eye out for the pheasant, but could never quite catch it.

The golden pheasant belongs to Beth and Ryan Neilson, and lives amongst their chickens and chicks.

“Philippe would hang out with the chickens and we didn’t realize he could fly, but he can,” said Beth.

After the pheasant escaped, the Neilsons spread the word via two different Facebook groups and several neighbours tried to help.

“He was spotted at least five times,” Beth said. “The first time he was in someone’s backyard; twice he was hanging out with different chickens; he was spotted by the side of the road a couple of times, as well.”

On one occasion, the Neilsons were called to a neighbour’s chicken coop, where Philippe literally escaped through Beth’s fingertips.

This morning, May 7, the pheasant was spied outside Woodgrove Centre’s Avalon Landmark Cinemas.

“Someone spotted the bird and they just thought it was really nice to look at and we knew it was a really exotic bird,” said Dot Shaw, merchandise processing coordinator at Winners.

One of the store’s drivers caught the pheasant in his coat, and another Winners employee had access to a birdcage. A Facebook post quickly reunited Philippe with his owners.

“It made our day, actually,” Shaw said. “We thought it was neat. You have to do these things, right?”

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The Neilsons just moved to Vancouver Island last September and said even before the events of the past week and a half, they had been amazed by the kindness and generosity of their neighbours. This is just another example of their community’s “small-town feel,” Beth said, and the couple is very grateful.

She and Ryan will find a way to add netting to Philippe’s enclosure so he can continue to enjoy Island life uncaged.

“He’s happy, the chickens are happy and my husband’s really happy. So everything’s good,” Beth said. “I think he just wanted a little adventure and I can’t really blame him for that.”

READ ALSO: Swan saved after getting tangled in net and nearly drowning



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