Postlude to Peacocks

September 8 – (see previous post for the first part of this story)

Once the surviving bird had the world all to himself, he must have decided he could live anywhere he chose, since there wasn’t another peacock in the neighborhood. So since you already either know or have guessed, he thought it was best if he chose us and would stay with us. In the beginning he kept a distance between us as he was not yet sure that both sides, the peacock and the two friendly people, would be happy together. Dale and I tried to come up with a little friendly chatter to answer the sounds we heard because we did want to be able to communicate with him.

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Spreading wide the feathers

After some time had gone by, we noticed that the big bird seemed to be forgetting that our yard wasn’t really his home. We could even shout out “PEACOCK! PEACOCK!” to show that we were friendly.

I’m sure that nobody would figure out that we were just pretending to be one so we could communicate with the real one, because we really were not peacocks. We finally figured out that Mr. Peacock had several sounds that he made when we were trying to be his friends. He said a lot more before he finally realized that we were his friends and then when he became part of the family, he might not say anything for a week or so. Sometimes his voice was so loud that we thought he didn’t like us at all.

After awhile he was used to resting anywhere, but his favorite place to pass the time away was the bird feeder, a box that has been used by smaller birds for years. At first he chased the birds and a squirrel away as that was HIS domain. Eventually, though, since he knew he was in command, he allowed the red-headed woodpecker, the cardinal, blue jay, dove, and many other birds to visit the box or eat from the food on the ground.

Now that he realizes his high position in the area, and the fact that he is much bigger than any other bird there, he doesn’t chase anything away.

Lately, one of his favorite places to relax is the front porch where he trusts us to look out for him while enjoying the fun of just plain family. The cat has her own special place too. She sits under the covered bench or stays close by us. Once when the peacock was at the stage when he needed to get rid of his current tail feathers, we would find all kinds of them, some much longer than others, some shorter, but all telling us that he was in the process of shedding.

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Looking for cheerios

Maybe you wondering what the peacock eats? You will probably be surprised as both of us were. When the bird arrived last year, I had just opened a package of Cheerios, and since I didn’t have Peacock food, I tried some of those. That was not a mistake! He just moved from one to another of those gooooood and tasty new foods. I could see by the way he was eating that he would soon be full enough that he would have to drink from the water bowl. Now it seems that he will try anything set in front of him, and enjoy whatever it is. He enjoys cake, crackers, cat food, and bird food.

I will not soon forget what happened one day when he was sitting quietly on the top of the porch railing. Dale somehow wanted to know if he could pull one of the few feathers left. Slowly he reached out his hand when the bird was looking the other way. When the peacock figured out what was happening, he immediately flew up onto the roof, leaving a beautiful reddish brown feather in Dale’s hand. It stands proudly above most of the others in the big feather box atop the freezer in the garage.

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Some of the feathers

Recently while he was feeding, I saw one of the two remaining feathers. As I went to pick it up I held it in my hand. Now just one feather and it feels fine with just one. He sits in front of the door waiting for us to get up or come back from town. A few days ago as we drove into the driveway, I noticed that the peacock was running as fast as he could all around the tank that holds propane. No reason in my mind as to what he was doing. Five times was enough to tire him out. There must be well over 100 feathers, even after we have given away so many. The latest were given to the children who attended Vacation Bible School at our church.

We feel blessed to have a good relationship with the beautiful bird that will soon start to build up another feather collection. I felt sad when I noticed that he was trying to show off the few feathers he had left. In the bird box he used to lie down with his head at one end and stretch out with the feathers hanging over the other. Just ONE feather now.

We like to sit on the tailgate of the truck in the garage and watch what the bird does. He often comes very close ready to pop up the food that we throw to him. Sometimes he is content to just lie down in front of us and enjoy being master of all he surveys! – CHRIS

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