I listen to my Grandma as she tells me of when I was little and we went on a trip to the zoo. She tells me of how there was a big beautiful peacock displaying and how I was really taken by it. Then she asks “Do you remember that?” “No”, I say. “Oh you must not remember when you were that young,” She says.
I do remember when I was around 10 and my parents took me to our local zoo. We were just about to leave when something caught my eye. There upon a sunlit balcony jutting off from a small building in the zoo was a beautiful white peacock standing on the balcony railing, his head arched as he reached for his long white train feathers, carefully sliding his beak down each feather. The sunlight caught his feathers as they cascaded off the balcony like a feathery waterfall. Luckily I had a camera and I took a ton of pictures from all sorts of angles until my parents said we needed to leave. I turned to catch one last glimpse of the beautiful white bird before we left down the zoo pathway. From then on I got more and more interested in peafowl. Their beauty and regal presence really spoke to me.
Eventually I started searching information on the internet about peafowl. I somehow found out you could own peafowl and so I did a bit of research on the subject. One of the first peafowl breeder websites I came across was Bow’s Peafowl Farm. After getting all excited looking at the gorgeous pictures of all the varieties they raise, I decided after some contemplation that I liked the Blackshoulder peafowl. I liked the fact that the females were white with brown flecks but the males were a regular color except for the black on their shoulder. I thought it was like having both the whites and India Blues in one. I printed out the Blackshoulder pictures and then proceeded to stare at them often, forget about the pictures, find them again, and be amazed all over again. Also because I love to draw, I would draw pictures of Blackshoulder peafowl.
A few years later my grandparents and I visited the Big Cat Rescue. We drove down a shady jungle-like dirt road that seemed out of place for the area. I stared out the window at the forest racing by and finally we reached the Big Cat Rescue’s tall black gate. We were there early so we had to wait outside the gate, but as we stood outside I heard an “Ahhhhhh ahhh” and starring between the black bars of the tall gate, I saw a peacock leisurely walking around in the fresh dim light of the morning. I was really excited to know that there were peafowl! After they let us in, it became evident that there were far more than just a few peafowl free-ranging the Big Cat Rescue. I spotted two Peahens briskly walking in the sun drenched grass with very young little peachicks scurrying to stay in their mother’s shadow. It was the first time I had ever seen peachicks with their mothers, and I got a picture of them too! In a fenced off part behind the gift shop, a peahen was nesting in a scruffy plant next to a young oak tree. I was amazed at how still and unafraid she was. The fact that she was nesting in an area where people were walking through all the time surprised me. Up high in some of the tallest pine trees above the tiny gift shop, a few peacocks were perched surveying there kingdom. Some of them moved a bit turning on their branch, but most were pretty content to chill up high away from all the activity on the ground. I knew peafowl could fly, but I had never seen them so high off the ground before. Later after seeing all the pretty big cats, we went back to the fenced in area behind the gift shop and a shimmering peacock was displaying in a corner. I slowly walked up and got some awesome pictures of him showing off, which were my first pictures of a peacock displaying. After that visit, we visited again two years later. In the time between the two visits, I had learned a whole bunch more about peafowl as I got more serious about them. The second trip we asked a few Big Cat Rescue workers how they got their peafowl and they told us that one day the peafowl just showed up and haven’t left since. They also said they would be happy to let us take some peafowl. When we went to the car to leave, two peachicks were right by our car. One of them started to display to the other one, and even though it was a puny display, it was really cute. Then the displaying peachick left and the other one lay down right there in front of us. If I could have, I would have grabbed that little chick and taken it home, but I wasn’t allowed.
When the local zoo closed down, we found out they were selling the animals and we called them offering to buy some of their peafowl, but they never replied. Then I was at Church helping out with food distribution, when I overheard a lady talking about how she worked at the zoo and people were asking her questions about where the animals would go. I walked up and said, “I would love to have some of the zoo’s peafowl!” She looked at me and laughed and then carried on with her conversation but one of the ladies said, “Oh but she probably could have those peacocks, she has enough land for them.” But that was the end of the conversation so I just went back to work.
Then one day I was at school drawing a peacock in my planner when a boy turned around and said, “Hey there is a bamboo garden place that has a lot of peafowl running around near where I live.” When I got home I Googled bamboo gardens in our area and somehow I was able to find the website. On the website they only had one peacock pictured, but I figured since they sold bamboo and other plants they didn’t want to waste space with peafowl pictures. When we visited the bamboo garden, called Boo For You, I was surprised to not see peafowl running around everywhere like the boy described, instead the owner explained that because of dog problems, he had to give all his peafowl to a friend, but he had one peacock he still had because he couldn’t catch him. After walking through the beautiful bamboo forest we spotted the lone peacock, foraging with some guineas. We talked more about peafowl with the owner, and he said that Monica, the lady who had all his peafowl, was selling the zoo peafowl. Then he proceeded to tell us that he could tell her we might be interested in some peafowl and he called her for us. After getting off the phone with Monica, he told us she indeed did have some zoo peafowl for sale. Monica then called us and said we could come over and take a look. All of a sudden after eluding me for years it seemed I was finally going to get peafowl. When we arrived at Monica’s she showed us around. Most of her peafowl were free-range, but she had some peachicks in a pen with lots of banana plants. Then she took us to the pen with the zoo peafowl. All the zoo peafowl were moving around in the pen, but my eyes locked on a beautiful India Blue peacock. Then there was a Blackshoulder peahen that I liked too. Monica said some people were coming by the next day to get some peafowl, but that she would reserve the India Blue peacock and the Blackshoulder peahen for us. Then on the car ride back home, my mom told me we would keep the peafowl at my Grandma’s, who lives two miles from our house, because she has more space for them. Then my mom coached me on what to say when I ask Grandma if we could have peafowl in her yard. I was pretty nervous because I was so close to getting peafowl, yet whether I got them or not all depended on what my grandma, the neighbor, and worst of all my dad had to say.
We pulled up in the drive and I got out of the car. We walked up the brick steps and the white screen door creaked open as we walked inside. There was my grandma sitting in here chair smiling. Then my mom said “Alea has something to tell you!” I walked over to my Grandma and sat down and quietly said, “I was wondering if we could have peacocks here…” “What?” My grandma said. I repeated the sentence again. “What?” she said again. “You want to have what?” She said. Then my mom said loudly, “Peacocks”. “NO!” My Grandma said. I stared at her in disbelief.” Well we are done here”, I thought. “Oh I couldn’t deny you anything. Whatever your daddy says I will agree with.” She said. I wasn’t sure if that was any better than saying no, but I hoped that we could get my dad to say yes.We went next-door to the neighbor’s house and before knocking on the door mom told me that they probably wouldn’t mind if we had peafowl. Sure enough, they were interested in our plan and couldn’t wait to see the peafowl once we got them. We went home to talk to dad, which wouldn’t be easy. He already knew of my interest in peafowl, and so after we agreed to his terms which were: We promised that he wouldn’t end up being the person who took care of them like what happened with the bunnies I had when I was five, plus we had to do most of the work making the pen and he would help only a little. After agreeing we made plans to get buy a dog pen with a top to keep the peafowl in. We assembled the dog pen and put up roosts for the birds.The next day we drove for what seemed an eternity to Monica’s to buy the two peafowl. When we arrived she took us to the zoo peafowl pen. Then she grabbed a net and we entered the peafowl pen with our blue dog box and watched as she chased down the peahen and caught her in the net. We opened the dog box door and she pushed the peahen inside. Then she went after the male, who put up a fight. He was flying all over the place flapping like crazy but Monica was able to net him and put him in the dog box. We thought they would be a heavy so both my mom and I picked up the box but it was like carrying an empty dog box. We slid the dog box in the back of my mom’s SUV, paid for the birds, and headed for Grandma’s. I couldn’t keep from looking back there in the box at both of them lying down as calm as can be. I thought they freak out being in a dog box, but instead they made no fuss. Once we reached my Grandma’s we released them into their pen. Finally at last I had my first glittering peafowl, which would bring me much joy and feathers to come.