Interesting peafowl article in the Washington Post.

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by nevsma, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. nevsma

    nevsma Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2011
    Dodgeville, WI
  2. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    My virus protection will not allow me to go here can you copy and paste the article pleas and thank you
     
  3. nevsma

    nevsma Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2011
    Dodgeville, WI
    By Geoff Williams November 7 at 9:34 PM
    CINCINNATI — One day in September, Gary Michael got in his car and drove 730 miles from Kentucky to Louisiana. He was not alone. His passengers were peacocks.
    Because this was real life and not a “Muppets” movie, the peacocks were safely enclosed in cages and not running around loose in the car. They were being taken to their new home at Pinola Conservancy, a private aviary near Shreveport, La., that is home to 300 species of birds.
    The two birds, 14 and 21, had long been residents of the Louisville Zoological Garden, where Michael is the curator of birds. But at the zoo, the peacocks had lost their luster — which appears to be something of a national trend.
    In recent years, a wave of zoos have purged themselves of peafowl while others have substantially reduced their flocks. Still other zoos have considered going peacock-free, only to have the idea shot down by zoo patrons enamored of the brilliant-blue birds with the impressive plumage and piercing yowl.

    How many peacocks have been cast aside? It’s hard to say. The last time the Association of Zoos and Aquariums conducted a census of the Indian blue peafowl, arguably the most popular peacock, there were 1,103 in 113 facilities accredited by the AZA. But AZA spokesman Rob Vernon said there’s no way to tell whether the number is rising or falling.
    “Honestly, blue peafowl numbers are not really tracked that well,” Vernon said in an e-mail.
    Still, anecdotal evidence of peacock eviction is piling up:
    In 2008, the Oregon Zoo sent its peacocks packing. In 2010, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden reduced its peafowl population from 40 to six. Last year, the Denver Zoo considered banishing about two dozen peacocks from its grounds, then decided to keep them. And this year, zoos in Louisville and St. Louis have transferred their peacocks to private farms.
    As usual, the National Zoo was something of a trendsetter. A century ago, the National Zoo had “many peacocks” wandering around its grounds in Northwest Washington, according to news reports at the time. Today, the zoo has just three. Spokeswoman Devin Murphy said she wasn’t sure why.
    Elsewhere, the reasons for the peacock purge are plentiful. In Louisville, it was “predation problems,” Michael said. Specifically, a great-horned owl — one from the wild, not one on exhibit — decided in 2013 that a peacock would make a good meal. An owl got another peacock last year.

    “When I found him at the pre-dawn check, the great-horned owl was perched on the carcass,” Michael recalled.
    The Louisville peacocks had already dwindled from at least 15 to four when Michael joined the zoo staff in 1989. Once they were down to two, he said, it was time to find them new homes.
    “I’m not a critic of having peacocks at zoos. I’m not opposed to it,” Michael said. But properly managing free-ranging birds had become impossible in Louisville, where, he stressed, the great-horned owl was not the villain.
    “Raptors in urban areas have made real comebacks, and we should be happy about that,” Michael said.
    In addition to wild predators, the free-ranging peacocks face an even more deadly enemy: HPAI, or Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, commonly known as bird flu. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested that zoos remove their free-roaming fowl because of concerns that they could spread HPAI.
    The warning does not appear to have sparked a mass exodus of zoos’ peacocks, but it was the deciding factor for zookeepers in St. Louis.
    “With the presence of avian flu in domestic bird populations, the St. Louis Zoo decided to send its peacocks to a local farm as a precaution and at the suggestion of a federal regulator,” zoo spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said in a statement.
    In Cincinnati, the peacock population was culled simply because it was getting out of control, said bird curator Robert Webster.
    “We had 40 peafowl. Two of them would go under a shed, and six more would come back out,” Webster said, only half-joking. The zoo now has six peacocks, all male, he said, adding that the situation is now much more manageable.
    Peacocks similarly ran amok in the Oregon Zoo, which had as many as 30 peacocks until 2002. That’s when zookeepers caught all the males and gave them vasectomies. The zoo was down to about 10 birds in 2008, when one landed on a 4-year-old boy and scratched his face. After that, it was buh-bye, peacocks.
    Although peacocks have a reputation as friendly birds, it’s not necessarily deserved. They are obsessed with food and can become extremely aggressive “when you dangle french fries in front of them,” Webster said.
    They are also hard on landscaping, digging up flower bulbs along with the squirrels, he said.
    And dangers abound during mating season, which occurs in the spring and early summer, when male peacocks fan their tail feathers to court the peahens.
    The birds think nothing of trying to peck someone who gets too close to their eggs. Meanwhile, a hormonal peacock “will mate your leg, a tree. They’ll mate your cat. Anything that wanders by,” said Dennis Fett, a peacock breeder and elementary school music teacher, of Minden, Iowa.
    Fett, whose nickname is “Mr. Peacock,” has written books about peacocks and has a Web site called the Peacock Information Center.
    It’s important to remember why peacocks are allowed to roam free in the first place: They won’t wander off as long as they know they’re getting fed. And they’re not picky when making their selection among a zoo’s many treats, from a toddler’s box of popcorn to leftover lunches at outdoor cafes.
    “They’re scavengers,” Fett said. “They’ll eat whatever’s there.”
    Sometimes peacocks do escape. This summer, a peacock broke out of its enclosure at Toronto’s High Park Zoo and toured the city for a weekend before returning to its primary food source.
    Which was remarkable, Webster said, because, in general, peacocks are not very smart.
    “They’re about as bright as a domesticated turkey, which is to say, they ain’t got much going for them,” he said.
    Still, the birds are attractive, and people love them. Which sometimes makes it difficult to give them the boot.
    Zoos in Albuquerque and Denver considered getting rid of their peacocks after the birds attacked young children. In Denver, it was a 3-year-old boy with an appealing lunch. In Albuquerque, it was a 3-year-old boy who was clawed on the face.
    Those incidents prompted public soul-searching about whether it might be time for the peacocks to go. But in the end, they got to stay.
    “Seeing them is a great experience for kids,” said Courtney Valerius, 25, who was pushing her baby in a stroller while with friend Katie Osborne, 29, at the Cincinnati Zoo one day last month.
    In fact, Osborne was surprised to hear that some zoos have gotten rid of their peacocks.
    “Geese,” she said, “are far more terrifying.”

    Williams is a freelance writer.
     
  4. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    Yea sad but anytime you mix people and animals in public there is going to be a problem arise sooner or later it is what it is.
    Thank you for posting this so i could read it, very nice of you [​IMG]
     
  5. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

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    I have 6 peafowl friendly birds, very calm, tame, will let very small children and adults pet them without anything. I've seen kids that are so eager and happy to get to pet my birds. Almost every time, the first words every person says is, "Is your bird aggressive?" or "Will it attack me? I've heard that peacocks are really aggressive." I go to fairs and shows with my peafowl and kids love being able to pet a peacock or peahen. I've brought my peafowl into my school and not a single bad thing has happened because I work with them and have developed a bond of trust and respect with my birds. They can be very friendly and tame if the time is put into them. None of my birds have ever attempted to attack me nor other people no matter what time of year. I do have some people that have had bad experience with peafowl or birds in their past and they just fear them. Some are willing to pet my birds and it changes their world, and some prefer to not move on yet. I love having my peafowl tame, friendly, and calm. It's an amazing experience for everyone I believe.
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    [​IMG] This male is 5 years old.

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  6. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

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    That's the sad part is when people that have no respect for the animal and don't understand what they can do eventually get what was coming.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  7. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    This is sad. One of my favorite parts about going to a zoo is seeing the free-range peafowl. All the animals have to be caged up yet the beautiful peafowl are free to wander the zoo grounds. It makes them more special than the other animals and it makes spotting them even more of a treat. I get really upset when people chase zoo peafowl or pester them because if you aggravate them enough it won't end well. They could become aggressive or they could be too spooky around people and then no one can enjoy them.

    With that being said, what is it with zookeepers disliking peafowl? I don't think all zookeepers dislike them, but my overall impression is that they think they are dangerous and they don't find them very interesting or impressive. I was photographing a peacock once and I was crouched down on his level and he was maybe 5ft. from me just standing there. The keeper warned me that he might peck me and that they can be mean, etc. I ignored her and nothing happened. The peacock just stood there and let me take his picture. They are so fearful of the peafowl I guess they worry that a visitor will get hurt by one and so they just say that they are dangerous to keep people away?
     
  8. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

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    X2. When I brought Ice to my school the one time I had lots of kids loving him, a few kids had a general fear of birds, and some had bad past experience with peafowl and believe they are out to attack humans. I get near my male during mating season and he's 5 years old and never been attacked. As you said too, with the feed they are gentle. I've fed them by putting a meal worm on the tip of my nose to prove that Thora and Ice never try biting me hard to get the meal worm. The beak never touched my nose. That's how much I trust my birds. Again as you said peafowl are smarter than people give them credit for. For my Advanced Animal Science about every other week we choose an article to read write a half page summary, half page opinion, 5 vocab words, a hyperlink or the article attached to it, and it must all be typed and I chose this article since I've read it so many times and I have a strong personal opinion on it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
  9. MinxFox

    MinxFox Overrun With Chickens

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    I had a pool party once and invited the whole youth group. Most of them were too afraid to go into the peafowl pen. I was disappointed because I really like seeing people interact with the peafowl. They are friendly to people and often one of my males will display for visitors.

    My boyfriend kissing Peep:
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  10. Birdrain92

    Birdrain92 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm going to be teaching some FFA members on how to show poultry and use Ice to help train the new FFA showers. One of the FFA members loves birds and seems to be very excited for me to start doing practices. I wish I had a photo of one of my peafowl taking a mealworm off the tip of my nose to show people how gentle they are. Or a video. When I first read the article I was half tempted to try and get a local news company to do an story with me and my peafowl to demonstrate how nice they can be.
     

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