Thirsty peacock visits Julie Larson’s back yard in Independence.
This is one I had to see to believe.
I knew birds were drought stressed when I turned my sprinkler on at the Huttner Weather Lab Thursday and birds immediately started flocking from the trees for a drink. But I never saw a bird the like one above. All Things Considered producer Jeff Jones explains below. Thanks to MPR weather spy Julie Larson for the proof!
At first, we didn’t believe Julie Larson when she responded to our All Things Considered text message query about the effect of the dry weather in our listeners’ back yards. Here’s what she wrote: A peacock has surfaced in our yard and drinks from our bird bath!
I called her back and she insisted the sighting was for real. Could it be a wild turkey? No. If you’ve ever heard a peacock squawk, you’d know it’s the real thing, she said. To further prove it, she sent us these photos of the colorful visitor — which she has named Waldo (“So I can ask the kids, ‘Where’s Waldo?’”, she says).
The Larsons live in a wooded area in Independence, MN – about 25 miles west of Minneapolis. Julie says Waldo the Peacock visits frequently to drink from the bath and get some seeds at the Larson bird feeder. “He comes for three squares a day,” she says. Just as songbirds appear after a lawn sprinkler runs, Julie suspects the dry weather is making it hard for Waldo to find water elsewhere. She’s had coyotes in her yard, too, and she hopes (for Waldo’s sake) they don’t decide to visit at the same time.
I called our good friend and top-flight bird expert Carrol Henderson from the DNR, who’s heard it all when it comes to Minnesota bird sightings. He confirmed that Minnesota is not along the typical peacock migration path (the birds are only native to South Asia and central Africa). He suspects Waldo escaped from a nearby hobby farm. Julie Larson says she knows of no such farms near her community. Until someone comes around to claim him — or until we finally get some rain — she’ll keep filling up the bird bath so Waldo can beat the heat.
Good peacock info: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/peacock.html
Carrol’s Web site: http://www.hendersonbirding.com/
Peacock YouTube video (NOT from Julie Larson), including sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MhZPqHeEAQ
Producer, “All Things Considered”
Minnesota Public Radio