Where's Pete? Peacock escapes from quarantine at Kingsbrae Garden

·3 min read

If you run into a peacock around Saint Andrews, it's just Pete, a resident of Kingsbrae Garden who has been spotted around the tourist town taking a tour since his arrival Friday.

Pete managed to escape his quarantine cage at Kingsbrae Garden before he could meet the four other peacocks on site.

"Pete didn't get a chance to meet his new friends," said Mayor Brad Henderson, who is also the garden's managing director.

The one-year-old peacock, who was brought into his enclosure on Friday, was supposed to be in quarantine for two weeks.

"Just to make sure the bird was healthy before we converged it with the other peacocks because there are things like bird flu and things like that," said Henderson.

On Saturday morning, one of the garden workers noticed dirt outside the cage and thought Pete had dug it out.

According to Henderson, it could also be a fox attack.

"We thought this brand-new peacock that we literally just got that day, we thought, unfortunately, it had a tragic fate."

He said they had assumed the worse, but then there was a sighting on the corner of Champlain Avenue and Diana Drive.

Henderson's working theory is, when the fox came into the enclosure, the peacock just jumped up to the top of the cage after which "the fox must have lost interest." Once the fox left, the peacock went out of the hole, he assumes.

Another sighting was reported at the Van Horne walking trail, Henderson said, "which makes us think that Pete the peacock is alive and well, he has just escaped and doesn't know where home is since he was just at Kingsbrae for a day."

The other peacocks at the garden roam around freely but stay close to their food source, as they know the garden is their home.

It is a gradual process to get them used to the environment by providing food and monitoring them to stay close. But Pete did not get that opportunity to attend the training and "basically flew over eight-foot fences and is roaming freely right now across Charlotte County," said Henderson.

Garden management is asking residents to keep an eye out for Pete and not attempt to capture him as it may cause harm to the $400 bird.

"I am pretty confident that if you see a peacock in the community it is the Kingsbrae peacock," Henderson added.

Dennis Fett, who goes by the nickname Mr. Peacock, runs the Peacock Information Center in Minden, Iowa. Fett, who has more than 40 years of experience with the birds, confirmed that "it is very unusual for a peacock to dig itself out of anything."

He said most likely it would have been an outside creature like a coyote, skunk or raccoon that would have gotten into the cage. He added he's never heard of a bird crawling underneath a hole.

"I would stake everything on it that the bird didn't dig his way out," he said.

According to Fett, it's more likely that a fox got in there, grabbed the peacock and pulled it out of the hole. And if it didn't hurt him to the point where he can't fly, then as soon as the peacock got out of there, Pete would fly to safety.

"Peacocks do fly as good as any other bird and sometimes better," Fett said, noting peacocks can fly about one mile per hour.

But the trouble is getting peacocks to return home.

"Once he gets so far away from wherever his home is ... he'll never come back unless somebody goes and captures him," Fett said.

Rhythm Rathi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal

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