Saturday, November 26, 2022

Passion to protect peacocks spurs petition

Photo by Bill Garcia
Photo by Bill Garcia

A brilliantly colored peacock pecking on your window and shouting loudly calls for an extra shot of espresso in the morning coffee. But peacock sightings really aren’t unusual in Flower Mound. And they roam more during the spring mating season.

For those who live or travel along Sagebrush Drive in Flower Mound, the sight of peacocks and peahens (or peafowl, which is the correct term) is typical most mornings and evenings. Occasionally, new residents call the town’s Animal Services department concerned that one of the colorful, majestic birds have escaped from their owners or are in danger of being hit by drivers on their way to Flower Mound High School or to work.

With increased construction near the birds’ homes near FM 2499, they may be displaced, confused or just annoyed at the hustle and bustle. Recent calls from as far away as Staton Oaks on the east side of Morriss Road have raised concerns about the peafowl.

“We occasionally get calls from people who are concerned that they will be hit,” said Christine Hastings with Flower Mound Animal Services. “Recently we had a call that one was on 2499, so we followed it and scooped it up to protect it from being hit.”

Peafowl have been in the Flower Mound area since at least the 1960s, when John Werner remembers growing up with the birds. Flower Mound lore says that gangster Herbert Noble had peafowl on his property to serve as alerts.

Most people see them early in the morning and at dusk along Sagebrush between FM 2499 and Old Settlers Road, and many aren’t familiar with the peacocks and are concerned about their safety and welfare. This concern has led to a community effort to protect the peafowl.

Photo by Dana Benton Long

“There are no ordinances protecting them,” Hastings said. “Migratory birds like mallards and geese are protected. We have reports of mallards nesting — one is at a school and one at Kroger. We tell people to leave them be and try to protect the nests until the babies are on their own. But peacocks – while not native – are now considered to be wild in this area.”

Area residents who live on Sagebrush consider the peacocks members of the neighborhood and a distinguishing feature of Flower Mound. A wild park on Old Settlers is named Peacock Park, although the peacocks prefer areas with high trees and less underbrush.

“The peacocks have been around here at least 25 years,” said Bill Garcia, who lives on Sagebrush and enjoys the birds so much that he has tried to keep count of them. At one time, he counted 125 birds on his property, but that number has now dwindled to 25 or 30.

Male birds have the beautiful iridescent blue and green feathers, especially during the mating season from mid-winter to late May. Females are less colorful and can be mistaken for wild turkeys. There are even black ones and white ones. Coyotes seem to be their primary predator, although the birds have been found shot with arrows.

“We feed them and know what they like to eat,” Garcia continued. “My daughters grew up with them. They even come peck on the windows sometimes to be fed.”

The residents, led by Linda Martin, have started a petition with the purpose of educating residents about the wild peacocks and how the birds benefit Flower Mound’s natural environment. The group also is pursuing a new town ordinance to protect the birds from harm by prohibiting removing, hunting, capturing or killing the birds, disturbing their nests or eggs. Similar ordinance have been enacted in Florida communities.

“We care about all nature and wildlife,” Martin said. “The peacocks are a benefit to the community and eat tons of bugs, especially mosquitoes. They’re a natural pest control. We moved here for the nature and don’t want this to be a sterile community. We like the nature and wildlife.”

Contact Flower Mound Animal Services at 972-874-6390 to report animal concerns. And check the new Facebook page, Passionate for Peacocks.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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