NYC Peacock on Hurricane Sunday

In the early evening on Hurricane Sunday, after Irene had blown by, I headed over to Saint John the Divine to find out how Morningside Heights’s three neighborhood peacocks had weathered the storm.

Some restaurants were open, and the city was returning to life.  On Amsterdam Avenue, kids hid out behind a car parked in front of the Hungarian Pastry Shop.

At Saint John’s, small branches tried to block passage through the lovely cast iron gates.

On the cathedral grounds, treetops swayed in the gusting wind.

Despite downed leaves and twigs, the Biblical garden looked as peaceful and orderly as ever.

Outside the garden, one peacock loafed about in front of the coop he shares with two other peacocks. See that elongated speck below the windows? That’s him.

Let’s take a closer look.

But wait a minute: what happened to his tail feathers?

When last seen several weeks ago, the gentleman had been standing on top of his shack, and he was stylin’.

It’s tempting to imagine that the poor guy lost his tail feathers struggling like Lear against the hurricane’s winds and rain. But in truth, we can’t blame Irene for his diminishment.  It’s simply that time of year.

As summer comes to an end, peacocks shed their dazzling breeding plumage.  In early spring, they’ll regrow those glorious tail feathers in preparation for the summer mating season, when they strut and shiver their spread tails to attract peahens.  From April to July or August, the peacocks of Morningside Heights shake their tail feathers at every opportunity, even though they are all males and have no contact with potential mates. They don’t seem to care who, or even what, they shake their booty for. The white peacock regularly displayed his glory to an indifferent hedge.

Although I only spotted one peacock, the security guard assured me that all three had come through the storm with, er, flying colors.  I walked on to Morningside Park (about which, more soon), then turned toward home.

Blue skies broke over Columbus Avenue.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, August, Birds, In the City, Seasons, Summer, Wildlife/Natural History

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8 Comments on “NYC Peacock on Hurricane Sunday”


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  3. Charlotte Says:

    Felt I was walking there again…..especially nice to be there after the storm knowing all was okay in the biblical garden.


  4. You always offer such an amazing lens through which to see landscape, wildlife, the city, and your soul. love, Louise

  5. p hoey Says:

    As ever, what a lovely sense of a city neighborhood we get from reading these blogs! We must live in hope that the raccoons don’t lose their feathers…

  6. margot truini Says:

    What a great story! I didn’t know St. John’s had peacocks…:)

  7. Barbara Says:

    Great story as always, and love those peacocks. They are magical birds… wonderful that there are three of those beautiful boys in the centre of NYC – and that they survived the storm! Wonderful photos as usual… What a city you live in! Love the various sides of her that you show us – thanks.


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