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Spirited peacocks just won’t budge

Jillian Roberts couldn’t believe it. Within weeks of the Ananda Village Council rejecting her idea to raise peacocks at her home there for fear they’d become a nuisance, someone was knocking on her door with a timely surprise.

“My neighbor said, ‘There are peacocks on my porch,'” Roberts said.

Sure enough, five of the birds had arrived out of the blue at Eliane Atwell’s home next door. Soon, the colorful avians were strutting and screaming just about anywhere else they chose on the circle of homes.



Just before the birds adopted Roberts and her neighbors, “My husband saw them flying over around Mother Trucker’s,” a popular store a few miles down the hill from the spiritual village on the San Juan Ridge.

“We hoped they would keep on their journey, but they haven’t left,” Roberts said.




Feeding the birds while waiting for an owner to show up was a mistake, Roberts said, because now they know where their food comes from.

“They’re somebody’s birds,” Roberts said, “They’re used to being fed, and they’re really tame.

“We wouldn’t hurt them” to run them off, Roberts said. “We’ve encouraged them to move on, but they won’t.

“They perch in a pine tree at night and come down during the day to our yard. We like them,” Roberts said.

But residents also wish they would go away, she added.

Neighbor Simon Herman is home from California State University, Chico, for the summer and said the birds are a bit of a pain.

“They’re constantly picking at the roof and the cat food,” Herman said. “The cats don’t scare them ” the peacocks are a lot bigger than the cats.”

At the Grass Valley Animal Shelter, Jeanne Allgood wasn’t surprised the birds had flown to their new roost at Ananda, on a ridge above the Middle Fork Yuba River.

“It happens all the time,” Allgood said. “We had eight show up last year downtown, and we found a home for them on McCourtney Road.”

The Ananda peacocks probably belong to somebody in the San Juan Ridge area, Allgood said.

“A lot of people raise them now. Why, I don’t know,” Allgood said. “They’re very loud and sound like a woman screaming at three in the morning, and they’re dirty. Big birds are always dirty.

“They’re beautiful and a lot of people love them, but others don’t,” Allgood said.

In Nevada City, a lone peacock roams the lawn of Julie Brankamp. He is the remnant of a large flock left in her area years ago by a former doctor who raised exotic animals.

“Last year when winter began, I had eight females and three males, and then they just disappeared like they often do,” Brankamp said from her Boulder Street home. “I must admit I fed them, so they all gathered by my back door.

“They’d been here for 15 years, but now there’s only one peacock left.”

Some neighbors in the Boulder Street area said they believe others, who are less enthralled with the birds, may have intentionally killed members of that flock.

Neighbor Ellen del Valle said she saw a driver wait as a peacock stepped into the road, then run it down.

Blue Canyon resident Francie Waller, a volunteer for the animal rescue group Wildlife Rehab and Release, is caring for a now-shabby male peacock that was hit by a car.

But the Ananda peacocks probably are not the same ones that Brankamp takes care of in Nevada City, she said.

“Unless someone took them up there,” Brankamp added. “The problem is, they don’t have name tags on them.”

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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