Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Visit from a Flashy Dresser

We had a surprise visit from an attractive but unwelcome visitor late yesterday afternoon.




Yes, that's a peacock.  He was quite large but, as his tail feathers were relatively short, I suspect he may be a juvenile, although I can't say I have much experience with peafowl.  Apparently, male peacocks don't develop a full train of feathers until they're about 6 years of age.  They also shed their tail feathers each summer but it seems early for completion of the molting process; however, I can't claim any personal knowledge of that process either.

My husband returned home and found the bird seated on our roof at the front of the house.  He alerted me and I grabbed my camera and went looking for our visitor.  I heard him squawk before I saw him.  Peacocks can produce a blood-curdling screech but this one produced a sound more like a goose's honk.

I found him pacing nervously about the vegetable garden.





He didn't at all like being followed around so he flew up out of my way onto our garage roof, where he paced about some more before flying over the fence into my neighbor's yard..





Hopefully, he'll head back to his colony.  He's very handsome and I certainly bear him no ill will but I'd prefer that he reside elsewhere.  In addition to their capacity for ear-splitting shrieks, they've been known to wreak havoc in gardens.  The peacocks, which are native to India, were brought into this area as a gift to a wealthy landowner in the 1920s.  Their numbers increased and the surrounding community became quite divided about their presence.  There are clear pro- and anti-peacock factions in the community.

Although I've seen them on the road a few miles from here, I've never before seen them in our neighborhood.  Our community has an ordinance prohibiting residents from feeding them and offers a laundry list of recommendations to deter them from moving in and settling down.  Dogs are the primary deterrent but our neighborhood coyotes are unlikely to permit long-time residence either.  A city website offers a helpful list of plants disliked by peacocks, which one is encouraged to use, and plants that the peacocks particularly like, which one is warned to avoid.  Luckily, I have a lot of plants on the "dislike" list but the "like" list contains a general reference to "tender young plants," which is problematic.

As of this morning, there's no sign of our visitor.  I hope he left of his own volition and not as dinner for one of the neighborhood coyotes.

20 comments:

  1. Wow! I had no idea the Palos Verdes Peninsula had a peacock problem. They are common around Arcadia near the LA Arboretum. What you are experiencing is called postbreeding dispersal. I hope it goes away and leaves your garden alone.
    On the other hand we have coyotes back in our neighborhood after a hiatus of about 20 years. I love to go outside and hear them howling at twilight.

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    1. The coyotes have become aggressive here so it's hard to appreciate their presence, Jane. They grabbed a neighbor's terrier in broad daylight last year.

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  2. Oh he certainly does look handsome -- and right at home -- with all that banana foliage behind him! I hope he has moved on.

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    1. He's disappeared, Alison, so I hope he headed back from whence he came.

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  3. He's so much better looking than our resident wild turkeys! I hope he leaves your veggies alone!

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    1. He didn't get much time alone with the vegetables, thank goodness!

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  4. A handsome visitor but they can be a naughty lot indeed. I've seen a garden stripped of vegetation from the ground up to where their necks can reach.

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    1. Yes, I've heard horror stories about what they can do to a garden. I don't think I could stand the screeching either so I'm glad he's moved on.

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  5. A very colourful visitor, but hopefully only for a short time! I don't think I've ever seen a peacock without its tail it looks sort of unbalanced. I saw a pheasant just outside the fence last week, the first itme I've ever seen one so close to the garden, I hope he doesn't come back.

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    1. I learned that peacocks are in the pheasant family. I wonder if all pheasants are as destructive as this well-dressed variety.

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  6. How wonderful! Such an exotic experience-at leat for me to see the photos: a peacock and the orange tree behind. Hopefully he will go back home and leave your plants in peace.

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    1. He did look nice photographed against the Mandarin orange tree, didn't he? I think he's gone now.

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  7. He might be very destructive but he looks very good against the backdrop of your lovely garden. Perhaps he could drop in for a photo shoot now and again as long as he doesn't stay for a a snack.

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    1. Even without the flamboyant tail, he was quite photogenic but I'd be nervous if he made regular visits - the raccoons are bad enough!

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  8. Hopefully he'll prove himself camera-shy after you followed him around for a while and not come back again! I fear for your vegetables, he looked like he was really sizing them up.

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    1. I have no doubt he would have hung around if I hadn't harassed him by following him around. I hope he's found a nice, grassy place to live where he can do little harm.

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  9. I wouldn't want it living in my garden either, but it must have been fun to see such a handsome bird dropping in for a visit.

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    1. The wildlife in this area continues to surprise me, Pam. Mr. Peacock is welcome to pay another visit when his tail feathers come in.

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  10. The first picture of your visitor in front of your orange tree puts the e in exotic! I love the way peacocks look and don't even mind their sound reminiscent of children screaming in pain but that eating one's garden business is not at all acceptable.

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    1. He was kind to pose in front of a SoCal approrpriate background, wasn't he?

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