Hello, in this brand New Year! 2014. Wow. So glad to meet this one and it has started off with a bang!!! Who would have known when we moved here, twenty years ago, we would be instrumental in the saving of the Amelia Island south end peacocks.
What a story! At the writing of this blog, the peacocks will return, soon, but they aren’t home quite yet. And, when they return, it will not be the entire family group, for we have lost some in this nightmare of a process.
It began last Saturday–one week ago, today. Well, the actual event began several months before that. I will explain as briefly as I can, but the details in this story are so many, I can’t possibly write them all here. That is for the book. Last Saturday, my neighbor told me the peacocks had been trapped and removed from our neighborhood. It took me a second to realize what he said. It sounded so foreign, so far-fetched to me, I couldn’t take it in.
You see, peafowl have been in our neighborhood as long as we have been on Amelia Island–20 years. “Trapped and removed”–that doesn’t seem possible. Why? I asked. Then he said these words: “A neighbor hired a trapper to bait and trap them and take them to a new home”. But, “why”, I said, “They were fine here.” Then I asked him if the county had anything to do with it and he said he didn’t think so. He told me which yard the trap was in and I went in that direction quickly, but couldn’t help but notice, as I went, an eerie silence and the feeling that part of our landscape seemed to be missing. It was odd. It was at that moment, I realized how much the peafowl played a role in the beauty of our neighborhood. You see, up to this point, I just took them for granted. They were always there–in our yard, in our garage to get the cat’s food, on the car, on the truck, screeching, and eating the bugs in our yard. They were commonplace. They were always there. Now, they were gone. Why?
Lonely–that is how I felt as I walked down the empty street they are so often frequent, just three blocks from the Ritz Carlton. –And then I saw the trap. Ugly! Feeder was on top, metal cage within the orange mesh fencing. Why? I thought. Why would someone do this? I had to get photos of this, and I did.
I couldn’t hold in my anger. I ran home, pulled up Facebook and found our Amelia Island network page. I posted that the peacocks on the south end had been trapped and taken away. I was blown away by the remarks. There were so many posts just as questioning as I–and, only then, did I realize the peafowl had been on this island at least 50 years!!! I called the trapper and talked to him. Many phone calls later, our only recourse was to go to the Florida Wildlife Commission. Then the ball started rolling….and rolled downhill for quite a ways for most of the week. It didn’t look good. We had to put up a fight for OUR peacocks and our way of life in this area. The person that had them trapped wiped out an entire muster of peafowl. This unique exotic historical species had been a part of the ambience of the south end of the island. How can someone do this just kept ringing through my head? How?
I never dreamed, during the one week I had no scheduled sessions–the week I was to catch up my editing, rearrange my office, plan the year, and clean up my home, would be the week I had to step in and help save the peacocks. Hello 2014.
There is much more to this story, and I will continue next time. For now…enjoy the peafowl photos I have taken from the past. The last seven photos were taken on December 7, 2013–just a little over a month ago. Most of the birds in these photos are no longer with us. Just a month ago, they were a family of about 35. Today, there are 3 that escaped the trapper’s snare. During this week, I have learned much about peafowl. They can live 20 years. Amazing. A family ripped apart by one who thought it best to dispose of them. How? How does something like this happen so secretly in our neighborhood? That is the question we are all asking, now. Rest assured. It won’t happen again. There is more to this story…much more. So, stay tuned!
All I know is we want our birds back!!!