A pair of peacocks has taken up residence in Springfield, leaving neighbors to speculate about the birds’ origin. Residents of Crestview Drive said the peacocks — one male, one female — arrived in mid-June and began roosting on top of a blue Cape Cod house with one of the highest rooflines in the neighborhood.
A pair of peacocks has taken up residence in Springfield, leaving neighbors to speculate about the birds’ origin.
Residents of Crestview Drive said the peacocks — one male, one female — arrived in mid-June and began roosting on top of a blue Cape Cod house with one of the highest rooflines in the neighborhood.
But whether the peacocks are beautiful birds or a neighborhood nuisance, “it all depends on whose porch they’re standing on,” said Marsha McCray.
“They’re always looking at themselves in the storm-door glass,” Gary McCray added.
So far, the McCrays, who live around the corner from the birds’ favorite nesting spot, have been spared the worst of it — the peacocks only occasionally wander into their yard or onto their driveway — but other neighbors said the birds can be much bigger pests.
“They ‘hoop’ a lot,” Charlie Masterson said, referring to the birds’ calls. “It can get pretty noisy once they get started, and sometimes they’ll come scratch at the rock around our front walk.”
Masterson, who lives across the street from the birds’ roost, said the peacocks are up on the roof most nights by eight o’clock. They’re usually still there when he leaves for breakfast at 5:30 a.m., he added.
“They very seldom get worked up, but sometimes the old boy will ruffle his feathers,” Masterson said. “The worst that happens is if they get stirred up, they let it all go. That’s when you get the hose out and have to wash it off.”
Neighbors who have been feeding the birds said they seem to like grapes and breadcrumbs. Talon Thornton, director of the Henson Robinson Zoo, said peacocks are natural omnivores who will eat just about anything.
“Whenever there’s a picnic across the street at Center Park, ours have a tendency to make their way over after the picnic to forage for food and make their way back in time to roost in the evening before sunset,” Thornton said.
The zoo’s peacocks — seven males, one female and three chicks — are all accounted for, Thornton added.
Neighbors who contacted the zoo about taking the peacocks said they were told that peacocks travel in groups called “parties” and are often reluctant to accept new members.
Attempts to catch the two peacocks have been unsuccessful. After Sangamon County Animal Control failed to net the birds with standard dog-catching supplies, a group of neighbors devised their own strategy.
They left a trail of grapes and breadcrumbs into an open garage, then waited across the street with the door’s remote control.
“The male was way back deep in the garage, but they (the neighbors) kept waiting for the female to go in,” Gary McCray said. “She wasn’t having it.”
Peacocks aren’t known for their intelligence, said Thornton, but like most animals, they try to evade capture.
“Ours know what a net is, and if they see someone walking around with a net, they’re pretty elusive,” he said.
The biggest problem with peacocks in residential areas stems from the mess.
“Ever been on a golf course in early spring when all the geese are out? It’s like that — kind of hard to miss,” Thornton said. “Peacocks have high metabolisms. They ‘go’ a lot.”
Once novel, the peacocks are losing their appeal among Crestview Drive residents. They also have begun to worry how long the birds can make it on their own — peacocks can survive the winter, but only if they have someplace to take shelter from the wind, Thornton said.
By calling attention to their unusual neighborhood pets, residents hope someone will come forward and claim the peacocks, or else provide them a new home on a farm.
Elle Moxley can be reached at (217) 788-1532 or email@example.com.
--Only male birds are called peacocks. Females are called peahens. Together, they are known as peafowl.
--Families of peacocks are called bevies. Groups of peacocks are called parties.
--Peacocks are native to Southern Asia and Malaysia. The Indian peacock is the national bird of India.
--A peacock can live for up to 20 years in the wild.
--Peacocks are usually monogamous in the wild and might become “heartbroken” if left alone.
--In the springtime, males strut to show off to females. “If there’s not a female around, they’ll show off to just about anything,” said Talon Thornton, director of Springfield’s Henson Robinson Zoo.
--Contrary to popular belief, peacocks can fly. Gary McCray said the birds have no trouble traveling from one yard to the roof of the house across the street.