Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Peacock Plague

We enjoyed the delight of Andrew Peacock grandly parading through our garden. All right, he did eat all our vegie seedlings but he was a glorious pest, long tail trailing behind him as he munched his way through the baby carrots.

Then there were five .... Susan arrived on the island, closely followed by three baby peacocks. So cute, those little ones, with their tiny crowns bobbing as they too munched through the carrot remnants.

And now there are twenty, with more in the offing.

They have officially become a pest.

Addicted to Whiskas cat biscuits, they scurry into our house through any opening, help themselves to the cat's bowl and leave, their stinky little offerings behind them as they scoot out the door.

"Help!" we cried to the Michael, the Feral Bird Man. (No, he is not feral: the peacocks are feral) So Michael and his offsider come out with a Peacock Trap. Not just any trap but a Peacock Trap. New: from Bunnings. OK, it was really a gazebo with mesh sides to keep out the mozzies but to them it was a Peacock Trap.

Erected in our backyard, they loaded the trap with corn which they assured us was better even that Whiskas cat biscuits. We waited. All day.

The next morning, we had one baby magpie in the trap. And six peacocks wandering round the outside laughing at him. We released the magpie.

Later that day, the three large males majestically entered the tent. Sprung! The gate closed behind them! Now we could see why they were classed as feral. Not just annoyed: feral! They screamed, they flew at the mesh sides of the tent, they tore it with their beaks and their claws. We released the three male peacocks.

Set again, we watched as the females arrived. The older females had seen a trap before and no way were they about to enter. But all that corn was too enticing for the younger ones and four ventured into the tent. This time we had them! Not nearly as strong as the males, there was no escape. We phoned Michael the FBM and he arranged to collect them the following day.

Peacocks, whatever you think, are not stupid. Feral, perhaps, but not stupid. The mothers milled, the fathers advised, the babies squawked. And in the morning there was only one in the trap. The three smaller ones had escaped under the sides of the tent. (Or through the holes that the males had made earlier in the day.)

Michael and offsider arrived to remove the one remaining young peahen. They entered the cage, offsider with net and Michael with large gunnysack. Easily netted, the offsider and Michael tried to get her into the sack.

Flapping, screaming and pooping everywhere, the peahen flew towards the side of the tent. As she flew straight through the mesh, the offsider did a creditable rugby tackle and also went through the mesh.

Feral Bird Catchers 0 : Peacocks 1 (or is that won?)

(To be continued........)\

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