A Vermont couple says that their peacock has been on the loose for six weeks, and has apparently started hanging out with a flock of wild turkeys.
The case of the fugitive bird went viral earlier this week, when the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department shared an email on its Facebook page that it had received from one of the peacock’s distraught owners.
“My peacock has run off with the turkeys,” the email read. “Do you have any suggestions on how to catch the little twerp?? I do not believe they can breed……concerned. I know where he is most days. Any information would be appreciated!”
Local news station WCAX 3 tracked down the owners, Rene and Brian Johnson of Springfield, and got the full story. The couple believes that the peacock ― who goes by Pea, Forest or Walter ― took up with the turkeys because he was lonely after his companion, a sibling peacock, died.
Though Pea is on the loose, he isn’t exactly missing. The Johnsons periodically spot him ― during the news segment, Pea appeared on camera, perched high up in a tree. And a local woman commented on the Fish and Wildlife Facebook post that she sees Pea near her house “all the time,” but hasn’t been able to catch him because “as soon as the turkeys take off, he does.”
Rene Johnson noted to WCAX that Pea seemed “pretty happy” when he was up in the tree. But she’s also seriously concerned with how he’s coping in Vermont’s already frigid temperatures.
A spokesperson from the Fish and Wildlife Department told HuffPost in a Facebook message that if Pea remains at large, there’s “really no way to predict” whether he’ll make it through the winter, since there are “just too many variables” at play.
And Gwendolyn Causer, a teacher and naturalist with Audubon Vermont, told HuffPost that Pea will likely be able to stay warm enough, but the real issue for a peacock on his own in the winter could be finding enough food.
Luckily, Pea appears to still be getting a little assistance food-wise. Johnson wrote on Facebook that Pea still approaches her for treats. However, since he always leaves when the turkeys do, she says she hasn’t been able to “hold him or catch him.”
As for the Johnsons’ theory that Pea ran off to find friends, Causer couldn’t be totally sure if that was the case, but said that the theory “seems reasonable.”
“The owners would certainly know the personality of their bird best,” she said.