A pet peacock that's evaded capture for weeks in Vermont has reportedly ditched his human family for a group of wild turkeys. The owner of the bird, whose name is Pea, said that the peacock was still on the lam as of Saturday.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the agency was notified of a runaway bird after it received the following email asking for help:
My peacock has run off with the turkeys. 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!
That person turns out to be Vermont resident Rene Johnson. Reached by email on Saturday, Johnson told Gizmodo she contacted the agency as a last-ditch effort after temperatures began to drop and she worried about the bird in freezing temperatures.
Johnson said that the peacock ran off out of loneliness after the death of his bird buddy, and that chickens on their property made for poor company.
"Pea was looking for love. The chickens weren't impressed with him," Johnson told Gizmodo. "My neighbour could see Pea down on her land trying to flirt with the turkeys and one day he disappeared. We feared he was eaten by a predator until we heard his [call] in the distance. He never returned home."
"We get a lot of Facebook messages and calls from people helping us figure out the turkeys' patterns," Johnson said. "It was about a month before I was able to see him for the first time. I called to him and he looked twice and then ran to me! I was able to have him take bread from my hand."
Despite a brief reunion, Johnson said that Pea doesn't like to be touched and again got away. Even when he was home, she said, he was difficult to catch "unless he went into the chicken coop so we could shut the door." Pea was free range prior to his escape, though Johnson and her husband had planned to erect a large enclosure. She said she's now working with a neighbour to set a trap.
"The day before Thanksgiving, the owner of the property where I am trying to catch him reached out to me and has given us permission to do what we need to do on her property," she said. "Today we set up a pop-up tent frame covered in net. We will keep putting treats in there."
Pea's great turkey adventure is a relatable one. After all, aren't we all just looking for love and belonging in this life?
Here's to hoping this little guy makes it home soon.