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A Day in the Life of a Peacock

Feb 21 2012
by NEW Zoo Education Dept


As the sun rises, I wake up on my favorite perch at the NEW Zoo.  A couple other peacocks and I like to hang out in the trees above the black bear exhibit.  Though it surprises a lot of people, we are actually quite capable flyers, in spite of the fact that we boys have such long tail feathers.  Plus, the view from up here is pretty awesome!

As peafowl at the NEW Zoo, I must admit, we fancy ourselves to be nobility, of sorts.  We are the only resident of the NEW Zoo that are allowed free reign!  That’s right – we can go ANYWHERE we want to, all over the zoo, all year long.  I’ve overheard some visitors wondering aloud how we get by on cold winter days.  While it is true that we are a tropical bird, originally from India, we are actually able to withstand the cold quite well.  Our feathers provide excellent insulation.  As long as we can keep our feet from becoming too cold, we are in good shape.  You may have seen us standing on one foot from time to time.  This alternation helps us keep our feet from getting too cold – the one tucked up next to our bodies, under our feathers, is kept nice and toasty, so we take turns warming one foot after the other. 

While the Zookeepers make their rounds each morning, they scatter cracked corn for us on the ground.  Cracked corn, along with insects, grubs, seeds, and berries we find on our own make up the bulk of our diet.  If we lived in the wild like our cousins in Asia, some of our favorite treats would be baby cobra snakes!  The keepers don’t seem to want to provide those for us, though…

After I’ve had my fill of corn kernels, I look for a sunny spot to relax.  My personal favorite at this time of the year is the east side of the Visitor Center, right next to the doors.  As an added bonus, I get to watch people go by as they come into the zoo.  They seem impressed by MY colors, but some of the crazy colors they wear never cease to amaze me!

One question I overhear sometimes is, “do you think it ever gets annoying, dragging those tail feathers around all day?”  I’ll answer that with a follow-up question: do you think it’s annoying looking GLAMOROUS!?  Only we males have the elaborate trains, because we have to impress the ladies.  Having big, bright, and colorful feathers says to the girls, “look how healthy I am, and what great genes I have!  I am definitely the best choice for being the father of your chicks, if you want healthy and beautiful babies!”  If a female were as colorful as we are, she’d be an easy target for predators while she sits on the nest incubating her eggs.  And we wouldn’t want that!

When the sun shifts to the other side of the Visitor Center, I decide to head over to the tortoise exhibit to check on some of my buddies.  This is another popular spot for us, and the keepers have left a bit of hay here for us to rest on.  I’d prefer baby cobras, but I guess I’ll settle for a comfortable spot to take a nap…. 

Time to find some more food!  Being that it is winter, we rely more heavily on the cracked corn.   With the cold weather and snow covering the ground, searching for grubs and seeds just isn’t going to cut it.  I find some more kernels, then head over to another popular peacock hangout; the walk-in viewing areas over by the quail exhibit. 

After socializing with my pals, it’s time to find a suitable perch for the evening.  I find a good branch halfway up a tree over the bear exhibit, and call it a day.

Aren't I beautiful?


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