For most residents of Canal Flats, seeing a peacock roaming through their yard has become somewhat of a common occurrence, but to those outside the community the creatures hold a sense of fascination.
There are about 25 semi-wild peacocks currently living in the community. They spend most of the spring, summer and fall out and about the community, but spend their winters at local resident, Dave Belcher’s place. Mr. Belcher said he doesn’t know how the peacocks got into the area, but he sets up a heat lamp in one of his sheds so the birds can survive the winter.
“Anything under -10 degrees and they start to have trouble. They are really interesting birds. They just came into my yard one day and now they just hang out here.”
According to Mr. Belcher, there were three people that he knows of in Canal Flats with peacocks, but they are quite smart and do not want to be penned for too long. They can also fly like the dickens.
“A lot of people buy them and they keep them in a pen and if you open the door and they fly away, what do you do? Sometimes they go across the highway or to another subdivision for a few weeks. They’re just all over the place. I have seen them go through the trees here at 30 miles an hour. They can fly better than a wild turkey.”
Edgewater has also hosted a peacock in the past. One flew into George McLean’s farm one winter, and stayed with the wild turkeys around his property for 15 years before disappearing two winters ago.
“I don’t know who owned him. He just wandered in here one year and I put him in the barn,” said Mr. McLean. “In most cases he got along with the turkeys but in the spring when they breed they would get into fights.”
In a one-on-one battle, Mr. McLean is pretty confident a peacock could “whip” a wild turkey, but the turkeys fight in groups, which puts the peacock at a disadvantage.
“That’s the only way they could get him,” said Mr. McLean. “That peacock got pretty noisy in the spring, but the poor bugger could never entice a hen turkey.”
Mr. Belcher said that the Canal Flats peacocks usually start displaying their plumage in June, which is an impressive show. They drop their display feathers shortly afterwards, and then get down to the business raising their chicks.
Mayor of Canal Flats, Bruce Woodbury, said that various people have owned peacocks in the area for years, and the number of birds seems to fluctuate. He added that surprisingly, they have not been spotted by many tourists, and although they can be a little noisy in the spring, the Canal Flats Village Office has yet to receive any complaints about them.