Austin’s Mayfield Park holds a population of roughly twenty peacocks and has supported the birds since 1935, long before the previous owners offered the property to the city in 1971. Park employees are proud to say most of the peacocks are descendants of the original stock.
But three recently-abandoned newcomers have the native flock riled up. Last January, someone dropped off two males and one female at the park. Right before mating season, according to TexasMonthly.
President of Mayfield Park Community Project Blake Tollett called it “rude” and “insensitive.”
Caretakers were concerned members of the existing flock would attack the new arrivals.
These new males were young and immature, complicating this year’s mating season. Previously, the numbers of male and female birds were roughly equal. However, the new peacocks are tipping the scale in the male’s favor. This shortage of females may push the younger, more aggressive males to force older birds out of the park.
Tollett also described one of the new males as “a little off.”
Cindy Klemmer, the park manager, said people do occasionally drop peafowl off, leaving park employees and volunteers to “deal with them.” Klemmer feels the flock is already overpopulated.
However, Tollett is more concerned with the flock’s social dynamic with the introduction of new birds. Mating season only raises the stakes.
Author Douglas Buffington on the other hand, claims any number of Texas peacock enthusiasts would have been happy to take the unwanted birds: “There’s a big demand for them.”
Buffington says potential peafowl owners often underestimate the work required to care for the birds. He thinks this is likely the case for these new birds.