This is a continuation from my last blog. I hope you were able to read it. I have some FANTASTIC news!!! The peafowls are home. Well, not all of them, but about half are home. Unfortunately, in all of this mess, some will never be able to come back home. That part is very sad. The happy part is the ones that have returned are very content and seem fine. They are a little more leery of people than they were before the trappings. They used to eat right out of one’s hand, but not since they have returned. I don’t blame them. Those that they thought were their friends, led them to a trap and hauled them off and split up their family group of many years. It may take a while for them to get close enough to eat from hands once more.
They are home, where they belong, and very docile just as they have always been. In fact, one has to search to find them. They are minding their own business, just as they always have–eating bugs, etc. There is ONE big difference. There are many folks coming to our south end neighborhoods on peacock sighting adventures. Some have been able to find them and some haven’t. To those, I say mid-day is best and look for a sunny spot. They love sunning their feathers. I have also had to remind some to look up. Afterall, peafowl, being birds, do like to have their bird’s-eye view, you know.
I am sharing a few images taken over the last several days. They returned home on Saturday, January 11, so these images were taken from the 11th through the 16th. Enjoy one of our treasures on the South end of Amelia Island. At the end of the images, you will see the story of how this all took place. Don’t get mad, though–the story has a happy ending and we are actively working to keep it that way.
I am back at work on my ‘people’ sessions, and editing and will share those, very soon. I have child session, family sessions and a wedding to share with you. I have learned something very important. I need those people sessions–peafowl don’t pay to have their photos taken 🙂
When they first arrived back home, they were very subdued. This peacock stood still for several minutes peering at me and making his peacock sounds. I could tell he knew where he was and was happy (as happy as a bird can be).
The ones, below, taken on January 16, 2014. Definitely content, now.
I call the one above, portrait of a peahen 🙂
This is the story:
Our neighborhood on the South end of the island has been home to a family of peafowl for over 50 years. All of us, in this area, moved into the area with the peafowl’s presence very well-known. They have been native to this area since FL State Senator Sandy McArthur brought them here for his bride, Mabel, as a gift, around 1960. Many visitors to our island have expressed they chose Amelia for their stay, because it has the feel of Old Florida. We believe the peafowl lend to that feel. In our neighborhood, visitors, who stay in nearby resorts, can often be seen riding down a nearby road, on peafowl sighting adventures. And, many make visiting the peacocks a regular part of their annual visit.
Unfortunately, a small group of neighbors, who must not have known the peafowl history on this island, or the visitor attraction they are, or appreciate their beauty, had these birds, of unique historical significance, trapped and removed from the South end of the island, wiping out what most of us believe to be an part of our island and its history and culture.
Most residents in the areas which are most frequented by the peafowl did not know of the trappings until all but two of the peafowl were removed. The trap was in a very indiscreet place behind a home in our area and not visible to any, except one homeowner. The majority of residents, in this area, enjoy seeing the peafowl walking through their yards and common areas. In fact, some folks have moved to this part of the island because of the presence of the peafowl and their uniqueness. Once we found out, on Saturday, January 4, 2014, about the trappings, and that it was unbeknownst to the majority of neighbors, we knew very quick action had to be taken to retrieve the peafowl, as we knew some were still in the trapper’s care.
The law about trapping of wildlife in Florida says a person can have a nuisance animal trapped on his/her private property and removed. We are very perplexed how this law applies to one person baiting all of the peafowl that roam all the common areas, to one property over a period of several weeks, to have them removed without consulting the neighbors in this area. The state law also says the trapped animal can be rereleased into an appropriate area within the same county. The appropriate area, in which the peafowls were released, met all the requirements of the state from what we understand. Unfortunately, some of the birds, since they were a familial group ‘flew the coop’ together, so to speak, and left their new safe haven. They were seen, by several different people, walking along Nassau County Road 108, about ½ mile from their new home. When a few of us heard this news, we travelled to that area, to try to see them. We did not see the group, but we did find one dead young male peacock on the side of the road, still warm. This happened last Tuesday, January 6, at 3:45 p.m. These peafowl had lived their entire lives in an area in which the only paved road they ever frequented had traffic that travelled at 25 mph. Cars are aware of their presence due to peacock signage placed along that road acknowledging their presence. The ones released into the county that escaped their safe haven are now in a very non-safe area along a major highway, and are in an area with many natural predators, including panthers, bobcats, and coyotes, to name a few.
Whether the person or persons’ action to remove the peacocks was ‘within the law’ has little to do with the outcome of what has taken place. Like many things, just because a law may not have been broken does not mean an ethical line was not crossed when this small minority of disgruntled residents made a decision that effected an entire community and island. Due diligence on the part of the trapper, though he was doing his job, has been questioned, especially since the peacock signage is very obvious along the road where the peacocks were trapped.
THAT was the BAD news. The GOOD news begins here:
To date, there are over 1600 members in the Amelia Island Peacock Face book group, in support of the return of the peafowl to the island, and over 500 signatures on petitions.
And…after news crews interviews, much research, many phone calls to local and state authorities, and much more, including a county commissioner meeting, the peafowl have been allowed to return to their home. We are thrilled!!! And, we are trying to take measures so this never happens again.