A search is underway in the small New Brunswick town of St. Andrews, where a young peacock named Pete could be on the loose.
Pete was a new resident at Kingsbrae Garden, a 27-acre public garden that’s home to a number of plants and animals, including several other peacocks.
He arrived late Thursday night and was placed in quarantine to ensure he was healthy before he was introduced to the other animals.
Kingsbrae grounds manager Bob McClaren said the colourful bird seemed to fit in “almost instantly.”
“We thought hey, this is going to be great, we’re going to have another addition,” said McClaren.
But on Saturday, he got “a bit of an alarmed phone call saying Pete was gone.”
“I said, ‘He can’t be gone, he just arrived. He’s only been here for a day,’” he said.
Upon further inspection of Pete’s enclosure, garden staff found a hole, indicating something from the outside had dug in.
“You think the worst, of course. We’ve had foxes around and raccoons and things, so we just assumed that Pete had succumbed to local wildlife and that he was gone,” said McClaren.
They found a few feathers – not uncommon during mating season – but no signs of Pete. McClaren also noted that peacocks “have quite the claws on them,” so he may have fended for himself.
As well, they received a message over the weekend from someone who spotted a peacock wandering a nearby subdivision – indicating the bird survived whatever dug into his pen.
Since then, they’ve received multiple reports of peacock sightings, as well as people saying they may have heard the bird’s “distinctive cry.”
“It looks like Pete’s more than a little special. He got away and maybe he went home and took up residence in the new subdivision,” said McClaren.
Brad Henderson, the mayor of St. Andrews and the managing director of Kingsbrae Garden, said staff are holding out hope.
“We believe that Pete the peacock is alive and well, but it might be some time before we’re able to get him back,” he said.
“He doesn’t know where home is right now, since he’s a new resident in the town of St. Andrews.”
Henderson noted the garden has five other peacocks – three traditional blue ones, like Pete, and two white ones – who have wandered before, but always came home.
Since posting about Pete’s disappearance to the garden’s Facebook page, many residents of the town have been on the lookout.
“It’s almost like a scavenger hunt for people who are walking trails, and trying to help us find Pete, which we appreciate,” he said. “The public is intrigued.”
McClaren, the grounds manager, said that those who spot Pete should contact Kingsbrae Garden, rather than trying to catch him – to prevent injury for both themselves and the bird.
“A peacock is a fairly big bird with a lot of strength in their legs, and if you grab one and their leg’s kicking, you could injure it severely.
“We’re hoping he finds his way back home,” he added. “We’d love to have Pete back.”
— with files from Travis Fortnum
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