Peacocks in Oklahoma

Peacocks in Oklahoma? Well, yes. We have peacocks in Oklahoma. They are not native, of course, but seem to like Oklahoma just fine. When I was a kid growing up on a farm in rural Oklahoma, we had a pair of nesting peacocks and I loved the silly things.

Many years later my husband and I lived in a housing development in southwestern Oklahoma City that had grown up around a farm that kept a big barn full of peacocks.  I probably was the only person in the neighborhood who enjoyed waiting on the peacocks to cross the highway at 6:30 in the morning. Out of my love for these sweet, silly birds, I wrote two children’s picture books about peacocks: Pete, the Peacock, Goes to Town (2005) and Pete, the Peacock, Goes to the Zoo (2011).

A few years back, my husband and I were watching a local TV newscast about grass fires and realized the reporter had camped in front of that peacock barn near where we used to live. My heart skipped a few beats, until I saw an army of blessed do-gooders rushing in to save the peacocks. After some fairly effective chicken herding, all but one of the peacocks had been scooted into a waiting truck. Well, one burly guy decided he would run down that pesky peafowl and grab him. Yep, you guessed it. With the evening news on live broadcast, this guy grabbed that panicky male peacock by the FEET. In response, the peacock spread his six-feet wide wings, lifted his body into the air, and stared flapping with unrivaled fury.  Like brass cymbals cranked into overdrive, the tips of those strong wings clapped repeatedly against the sides of his would-be rescuer’s head.  Whap — whap — whap!!!  A few seconds later the guy fell back onto the ground, but was still holding onto the peacock’s feet. Whap — whap — whap!!! Finally, the guy let go and the peacock, none the worse for wear, flew into the truck to join its fellow peafowl.

Word of warning folks: You move a peacock by grabbing it from behind and wrapping your hands under its belly. You never run at it face-on and grab it’s feet. Unless, of course, you LIKE being beaten to death by six-foot wide wings. In that case, knock yourself out! 🙂