Lore-friendly Skyrim mod fixes its most glaring realism error: The pheasants

A pheasant from MihailMods' Skyrim mod.
(Image credit: MihailMods / Bethesda)

Skyrim has plenty of oddities. There's the goldfish memory of your enemies, the way you can get good enough at pickpocketing to literally steal the shirt off someone's back, and how it's possible for NPCs to attain a level of narrative importance sufficient to ward off death. But those are nothings. Trifles. Mere bagatelles compared to the game's most major inconsistency: The pheasants.

Think about it. Pheasants are all over the place in Skyrim, but only ever as corpses. They hang in kitchens and linger in food halls, but you can count the number of living ones you see on no hands at all. Are we to believe that the denizens of Skyrim, like the hunters of the Dodo, reduced the region's pheasant population to a set of cold bodies and warm memories? How long have they been gone? Are those corpses you can take giblets from decaying by the time the game takes place?

Put these unpleasant thoughts from your mind, because Skyrim modders are here—once again—to preserve logic and save the day. A mod called Ring-necked Pheasants - Mihail Monsters and Animals returns the humble pheasant to its natural home: Skyrim's wilderness, not its pantries.

The creator, MihailMods, is serious about their craft, too. Their mods are "implemented in an immersive and unique way, with respect to the pillars of lore," they say, emphasising that "instead of pathetically just throwing models and textures in the game reusing 100% vanilla mechanics, the creatures made by Mihail have uniqueness and extreme zeal in their idealization and implementation, which will provide you with an experience that you have never had before in this area". Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

It honestly looks great. The author is clearly something of an ornithological artist, and the pheasant they've rendered for Skyrim (including its older Legendary Edition) is frankly sumptuous. He struts, he preens, the evening sunlight dances on his iridescent feathers as though on a pool of clear water. They even make the right pheasant-y noises. 

I mean really, just compare the game's stock (dead) birds with MihailMods' version below. There's no contest.

Don't worry, you can replace the usual dead pheasants with MihailMods' version using a different mod

You might think I'm poking fun, but I'm not. MihailMod's bird really is exquisitely rendered, and has ensured that I won't be able to play Skyrim ever again without the peculiar absence of living pheasants sticking in my craw. Mods like these—tiny, hyper-particular things that fix issues that only a vanishing percentage of players are likely to have—might truly be my favourite kind. And if you need more bird variants in your Skyrim playthrough, you can always throw in the chicks and chicken variant mods from the same author.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.