By Bob Uphues
Back in 2011, we had a little running drama when a pair of peacocks (peahens, actually; they were females) escaped from Brookfield Zoo and were seen throughout Brookfield and Riverside for a week before they returned home.
Well, one of the peahens is back out on the prowl outside the zoo. And this time, it's made its way as far as Oak Park.
Riverside police actually received two calls about a wayward peacock early last week. The first came in on Monday, June 17 at 8:44 a.m., when a woman called to say she saw a peacock walking into the backyard of a home in the 100 block of North Delaplaine Road. On June 18, a resident of the 500 block of Berkeley Road, called to report that a peacock with a tag on its foot was atop his neighbor's garage.
Clearly headed northeast, the peahen — now shown definitively to be a female (because someone took a photo) — ended up in east central Oak Park on Saturday. Residents took photos of the peahen in the backyard of a residence in the 200 block of South Oak Park Avenue and on top of a car parked in a driveway in the 500 block of South Grove Avenue.
"It flew into our backyard and started eating the cherries off the ground that had fallen off our cherry tree," said Kirsten Weismantle, who lives on Oak Park Avenue.
Weismantle said police told the family that zoo officials do not retrieve escaped birds. "If the bird survived crossing the Eisenhower to get to Oak Park, she probably deserves a vacation," Weismantle said.
When the peahens escaped in 2011, they made it as far as North Riverside Park Mall before heading back home. At the time, the zoo's spokeswoman, Sondra Katzen, said the peacocks and peahens occasionally fly the coop. They are pretty adept at avoiding predators, since they can fly into trees.
In the past they have always eventually ended up back home, where their food supply is.
"We're still pretty confident they'll make their way back," said Katzen on Monday.
Katzen said she was under the impression that up to three peacocks from the zoo's collection may still be unaccounted for.
We'll let you know where it (or they, as the case may be) turns up next.