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Peacock Comes To Roost With Newtown Couple

A wandering peacock chose a beautiful late afternoon to walk into a backyard on Shepard Hill Road Thursday, July 24.

Looking outside that evening, Lex Nalley said, “I first thought it was a turkey. My cat Cinder went after it, and once it flew up and landed, I realized it was no turkey, and the next morning it was back.”

The interloper, now named Harley, has made himself at home with Ms Nalley and Neil Unger. When people ask, “We tell them we’ve been adopted by a peacock,” Ms Nalley said. Harley seems content to occupy their back deck and yard. Mr Unger and Ms Nalley learned that the bird would eat cat food, “so we got it cat food,” she said.

For several days the couple has been observing their impromptu guest’s routine.

Already starting his day before the couple is out of bed, according to Ms Nalley, “He eats and sleeps on the front porch and he is already on his daily constitutional around house when we wake up.”

 She said, “He walks the yard and pecks at the window when he wants food, he has us trained well…”

Why do they call him Harley? “When Neil starts [his Harley-Davidson motorcycle] he honks. We think it’s a ‘Hi dad,’ honk,” Ms Nalley said. “And, he loves to look at his reflection in the Mustang.”

Ms Nalley and Mr Unger have made the most of the visit with what Ms Nalley suspects must be someone’s lost pet.  She noticed that some of his flight feathers had been clipped, and also saw that his longer feathers look “a bit raggy,”

The peacock, which “walks like a chicken, you can hear him, he is loud when he walks,” is shedding his tail feathers. Ms Nalley said, “I have owned birds, and it’s natural.”

Her cat is now okay with Harley, but other wildlife is somewhat confused.

While the cat and peacock now “ignore each other,” Harley startled a deer recently. The deer “looked at me, no reaction, looked at cat, no reaction, then looked at the bird and took off,” Ms Nalley said.

Glad to have made his acquaintance, but eager to see him reunited with his owner, Ms Nalley said, “I caught him up on a lawn chair looking in the window. I think he wants in, but oh no.”

Animal control staff member and kennel keeper Matthew Schaub said that peacocks are nothing new to Newtown or Monroe. Peacocks have been kept as pets and gotten loose, but, he said, “I am not sure that this is the case here. I don’t know who has an environment suitable for a peacock or what it requires.”

He said, “Things that are not native to here either got out or someone left the door open.” Every now and then his office receives reports of sightings.

 Several months ago the Newtown center had a call of a peacock sighting from a Bears Hill Road resident, but could not find the animal when officers arrived A Newtown resident several years ago had peacocks imported, but Mr Schaub has no reason to believe that Harley is one of those birds.

Recently Monroe Animal Control Officer Ed Risko, who often talks with staff at Newtown’s Brian J. Silverlieb Animal Care and Control Center, asking if residents are missing peacocks, faces a similar predicament. When he finds a roaming bird in Monroe, he checks with other towns, he said. Peacock sighting are not uncommon and happen “every season,” he said.

People keep them as pets and they escape the yard. ‘We’ve got birds all over town; people think they are pretty,” Mr Risko said. Already this year along some of Monroe’s main roads, including Routes 111 and 25, peacocks have been spotted. In the past he has had some luck with several local farms, garden centers, and Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, who were “gracious” enough to take the exotic animal off his hands. “Don’t feed them,” he said, or they will stay.

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