- Snowbank the peacock escaped a Boston zoo.
- Boston Police lured him to safety with a mating call.
- An officer played the call on his phone until animal control arrived.
A Boston peacock named Snowbank broke quarantine last week to go find a mate. Anyone single and sheltered in place can identify with the bird’s screw this-attitude, as he wandered away from the Franklin Park Zoo. He didn’t make it far, spotted by a suspicious citizen in the Roxbury neighborhood. That citizen approached officers on patrol and reported seeing the peacock.
A popular Zoo Attraction
Roaming peafowl (both males and females) are a common feature in zoos in both the US and Canada. They’re docile animals who stay within the confines of the zoo because of the abundance of resources and lack of predators. The Franklin Park Zoo has four peacock which freely roam the 72 acres of the zoo. They’re trained to come when called like most free range peafowl at zoos.
Zoo keepers will round up the birds before dangerous weather, or to receive regular vet care like any of the zoo’s other animals. Snowbank isn’t the first peacock to make a break for it. In 2018, the Denver Post reported eight peafowl walking out the main entrance of the Denver Zoo, where something in the parking lot spooked them. They dispersed throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Zookeepers quickly recaptured six of the birds. A car hit one and killed it, and one remained missing in the Park Hill neighborhood. However, at the time the zoo’s spokesperson stressed that they often wander and return to the zoo, “This isn’t an emergency situation by any means.”
Boston PD took the situation seriously, calling additional officers to the scene, finding, “an extremely large, slightly intimidating, and quite beautiful, male peacock.” Including tail feathers, male peacocks will grow to over 7 feet long, and can weigh up to 13 pounds. One officer on the scene looked up peacock mating calls on his phone, according to People magazine.
Peacocks are intelligent animals and communicate with 11 different vocalizations. Some of which are used to warn members of the party (a group of peafowl) of danger. Despite what seem like cumbersome tail feathers, they’re agile and capable of both flying and fighting. When defending their territory they claw with their talons, peck, and shake their tail feathers to intimidate predators. Shaking tail feathers doesn’t sound like an actual threat, but it worked on the Boston Police Officers at the scene.
After finding a peacock mating call, the officer played it from his phone, luring Snowbank into a fenced-in backyard. He stayed there until Animal Control officers and zoo keepers coordinated to recapture and return Snowbank to Franklin Park. While there’s no way to be certain why he flew the coop, mating season lasts from January until March, and it’s possible he was just looking for love.