A chukar partridge (pronounced “chuh-kahr”) moved into my parents’ backyard in Cumberland Foreside, Maine. We believe this is a photo of a lady. We’d never seen anything like a chukar in this neck of the woods, so we did some research.
Originally from the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Northern India, chukars are the national bird of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and Pakistan. Kurdistan is an unrecognized autonomous region; Kurdish people have been highly marginalized by the nation-state and international governance systems. We welcome these birds in part because, as my boyfriend Alex put it, they’re “freedom fighters!” In some Northern Indian mythologies chukars symbolize intense love. They are also said to enjoy rocky hillsides and gazing attentively at the moon. They were brought to North America for hunting purposes and are allegedly quite hard to catch.