Over the past month, my blackcock has grown some cracking new tail feathers. He’s quite shy about showing them off, and has only really lekked at night for the past few weeks. You could argue that because he’s blind, he doesn’t know it’s night time, but I’ve heard wild birds lekking at any time of the day or night, so maybe it’s not his mistake.
The brown and white feathers on his chin have come away to reveal a fairly smart uniform blue blackness right over his head. Some of the feathers on his neck aren’t at full length yet, so they have a bit of a scruffy ripple around his chin and down onto his breast. At the rate his feathers seems to grow, though, this slight imperfection will soon have passed and he’ll be looking immaculate in black.
Also worth mentioning that I found a young greyhen on the hill opposite the house last week. She was about five hundred yards away from where my boy lives, and I wonder if she’ll still be around in the spring when he starts lekking.