Saturday, December 03, 2005

Peacocks - Exotic Visitors

I really have no idea where they come from, or who they belong to ... if anyone. I'm referring to frequent visitors who've adopted my yard. I love finding them napping in the morning sun outside my bedroom ... the three of them ... all India Blue Peafowl (Pavo cristatus). They are commonly known as Peacocks, but that really refers to the males. The females are Peahens and the youngsters are Peachicks. Since I moved into this home nearly 4 years ago this peacock family have been frequent visitors ... sometimes staying most of the day.

Each year momma Peahen comes calling with one to three chicks tagging along. It is fun to watch them mature through the year. This year she had two chicks ... one male and the other female (mom and the young female are shown in the photo). The male is now sprouting irridescent blue feathers in his upper body, but he isn't old enough to have that beautiful tail the males are famous for. However, there is an older male that has adopted the wheel of my SUV as his own. It's pretty clear that he enjoys seeing his reflection in the metal alloy. And why not ... he is beautiful and has a long a gorgeous tail. This morning he ventured closer to the house ... in fact was looking in the window of my front door. No, he isn't tall enough to see in the typical high-placed window in some front doors. My door is almost all glass so he can walk right up and see his reflection very easily ... that is what attracts him.

These creatures sure lend an exotic touch to my bird feeding. I just didn't feel right about providing for the local birds that visit my yard, without including them. So eventually I put out a
ground platform feeder they can eat from ... but so do the smaller birds. In fact the smaller birds get the lions share since they are constantly feeding while the peacocks come and go.

I have several areas of ground cover planted in the backyard and it isn't unusual to find 3 peacock heads peeking out of it as they take their afternoon nap. What a life they have! Eat, sleep and wander around, unmolested.

Now, if they just weren't so clumsy. If there is something around they can break, they manage it. They've broken 2 clay pots sitting on the deck rail and another on the deck. So they lost my favor for awhile. But really the worst thing was breaking a major limb on a Plumeria. You know, that wonderful bush/tree whose blossoms are frequently used in Hawaiian leis. They smell just wonderful and remind me of Hawaii. So when I discovered they grow very well here in San Diego county, I made a special visit to a Plumeria sale to find a 2 or 3 good sized, perfectly shaped plants for my clay pots. The trip was worthwhile because I came home with some beauties. Everything was going well until one of the peacocks jumped off my roof and landed on the prettiest Plumeria and broke a major limb. Well, so much for a well-shaped plant. It was sad. And then, of course, there is their love of begonia flowers. The begonias I planted last spring did not last through the summer. The flowers were eaten and once devoured the peacocks decided the plant was just as tasty. So I was left with a few scraggly stems. I hope the plants regenerate next spring. I'll have to wait and see.

Oh yes, there is the need to hose off my deck from their visits ... if you know what I mean. It's a nuisance to be sure; but then I think ... how many people can enjoy such exotic visitors. So I try to have a little patience and be a tolerant hostess. The good outweighs the bad.

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