Wandering Peacocks of NYC
The free-roaming peacocks of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue exert a strange fascination.
In June, when a maintenance man rattled a cookie tin filled with food, the white peacock eagerly hopped a fence and positively hustled to get some chow.
The peacock chowed down.
He appeared completely unfazed by a large troop of day campers traipsing noisily past.
and greedily gobbled his bird chow.
Three male peacocks, gifts from the Bronx Zoo, roam all over the Cathedral grounds. The maintenance man told me that when the birds first arrived as young fellows, they would wander into the neighborhood, prompting worried phone calls from residents: “Hey, I just saw one of your peacocks over on Broadway.” Someone from the Cathedral would head over to collect the errant bird and bring it home.
As far as I know, the Cathedral birds now stay close to home. But a desire to ramble seems to regularly overtake New York City peacocks and peahens. In May 2011, a peahen bolted from the Bronx Zoo.
After several days of sightings and capture attempts, the bird was nabbed in a Bronx parking garage, and returned to the zoo. “In general,” said zoo director Jim Breheny, the zoo’s peacocks are “not inclined to leave the property, but for some reason this bird just got curious.”
A few months later in August, strollers on Fifth Avenue were startled by the sight of a peacock perched outside a fifth floor window. The bird turned out to be an escapee from the Central Park Zoo.
Zoo officials maintained that the peacock was likely to return home of its own accord and, after a night of adventurous sightseeing (and some serious tweeting), the bird did just that.
The Cathedral peacocks have already molted, losing most of their gorgeous breeding plumage and, until spring, will resemble the more modestly feathered peahen.
Check back soon to find out what Flannery O’Connor thought of peacocks and to see more photos of the Saint John’s trio.Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, April, Birds, In the City, June, Peacocks, Seasons, September, Summer, Wildlife/Natural History comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.