Thursday, May 14, 2009

You'll never guess what my new yard bird is...(updated with photo)

...and I'm going to make you wait until the end of this post to reveal it. And you Facebook friends may have an unfair advantage. Sorry, I couldn't resist a quick status post. ;)

It's been a crazy week here. Started off with a flat tire on the way to work Monday morning, which of course ended up with me having to buy a new tire, which came today. I drove The Hermit's vehicle until now. Four Calvin baseball games (one of which is tomorrow), Calvin staying up until after midnight when the Twins game went 13 innings (they won, thanks to a walk off grand slam by another great Joe), lots of stuff going on at work, and to top it off, tonight's triple header of ball game, piano recital, and band concert. I got home after my bedtime.

At least I have been out on lakes at work, which is good. I like driving a boat around, looking at stuff, even if I have to somehow systematically record the presence of curlyleaf pondweed. Yesterday at lunch time I parked the boat on the shore of an island which I believe was Minnesota's first designated Scientific and Natural Area, because it hosts a great blue heron rookery. I practically grew up on that lake, so I know personally that the herons have been there at least close to 40 years, probably longer. Now it also hosts a bald eagle nest, and I saw one eagle bring a fish or something to the nest. There were warblers flitting about, mostly yellow rumped, but I heard a warbling vireo.

Today I learned an important lesson: Don't park your boat downwind of a flock of white pelicans. They must ferment those fish in their beaks for a LONG time!

Okay, on to the yard bird. The other day, I think it was a Tuesday if I remember right, I was driving home with the kids after one of Calvin's ball games, and a mile and a half away from our house I spotted something that made me do a double take. It turned out to be a preview of THE YARD BIRD. Fast forward to this morning. The Hermit tells me he heard a really loud, exotic sounding bird call from our woods that may have been the bird I had seen before. I walked out, heard nothing, and told him it may have been a yellow bellied sapsucker; after all they do get kind of sassy this time of year. Later today, when I got back from the lake and was checking my email at work, I had a note from The Hermit saying he had visual confirmation, and it was most definitely NOT a sapsucker.

It was a peacock. A real live, honest to God blue peacock. Right here in our woods. I only believed him because my preview bird happened to be a peacock, albeit a mile and a half away from here.

No photos yet; I happened to have the camera stashed in one of those obvious places that neither of us could remember. Camera found tonight, hope to get some early morning photographic evidence. I didn't arrive home until twilight, which is pretty late these days, but I was fortunate to get audio confirmation several times over. Those suckers are LOUD!

This is surreal. I would not be more surprised if I happened to see a manatee surfacing in our pool on Sand Creek. Or a flock of flamingoes foraging in the shallows of the pond.

Friday morning update:


Pablo said...

My sister-in-law has a pet peacock that roosts in the pine trees on her land in Carnation, Washington. I've heard of folks keeping mostly for yard ornamentation. I can't imagine they can survive the predators long though.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Back in my young and single days when I lived and worked in St. Paul my best friend lived close by to Como Park and Zoo. Every night a male peacock would fly the fences from the zoo and roost on her roof. In the morning it would scream a few of its blood curdling screams and fly back to its pals in the zoo. I always thought it sounded like someone being murdered. Slowly.

Richard said...

No fair...I'm looking for warblers and you find peacocks. Wonder where he came from?

David in Kansas said...

If I saw a peacock perched on my tree like that I would have a stroke. I didn't even know they perched on things since all the ones I've ever seen were walking on the ground.
Definitely a nice surprise.

Cris said...

Wat'ffff... it's a peacock!

Carolyn H said...

Well, that's one you don't see every day. I don't suppose you know where that peacock came from, doyou??

Carolyn h.

dharma bum said...

That's just crazy. And very cool. Certainly a deserving sighting for a dedicated birder such as yourself. :)

I'd love to know how it ended up in your backyard.

Floridacracker said...

Neat! They are sooooo talkative.
Like a guinea hen on steroids.

Deb said...

Pablo- I did not know until this morning that they roosted so high in trees. I wonder how this guy has managed to avoid predators so far.

Lynne- great story, and great description of the sound. It woke me up at about 4 AM.

Richard- It's a tradeoff. My warbler list this year is dismal, mostly because I haven't been looking.

David- Even though I expected to find this guy in a tree, I did a double take when I actually found him. Strange!

Cris- Exactly what I said!

CarolynH- I don't know for sure where it's from, (Mr. Attitude said South America!) but I do have one suspect; a family I don't know too well about a mile and a half away has flocks of guineas, and I suspect they may have kept this bird. It acts wild though.

Dharma Bum- And a sighting I would expect more had I experimented with a few more drugs...;) Anyway, I welcome the surreal.

FC- We have some obnoxious geese, and last night every time the geese skwaked at something the peacock would chime in. At 4 am.

When I arrived home tonight, baseball player in tow, the first thing I saw was...the peacock. :)

cindy said...

Deb, Wow! How cool is that? You guys have everything up there in the wild northland! Let's see you get this by the MOU records committee!!

Deb said...

Cindy- I don't think I'm even gonna try...but could this be a record in the Breeding Bird Atlas? I think he is interested in breeding anyway...maybe a turkey or something...:)

Rurality said...

Some of our neighbors have them, and last spring we could never sleep the whole night through... they are LOUD for sure! Unless their wings are clipped I think they frequently "run away from home" to another spot that has food they prefer. (My cousins' ran away to their neighbors, who left dog food out all the time.)

This year the neighborhood peacocks are either quieter, or we've learned to sleep through the noise. :)

RuthieJ said...

Wow, he's beautiful in the sunlight isn't he?
I think that peacock's going to really skew the results of the Breeding Bird Survey though isn't he?

B Squared said...

We had one that showed up here some 16 years ago. He became the neighborhood pet. A wonderful bird. He, unfortunately, passed away last month.

MojoMan said...

This MUST have something to do with global warming!

Erica said...

Very neat, Deb! We live at the opposite end of the state but many people keep peacocks down here. The farm we get our meat from, has several and he's always trying to pawn them off on us lol. He doesn't feed or water them, but they take care of themselves just fine on their own.