Jerry Barr’s got a nest of exotic bird eggs on his front doorstep, and he’s proud as a peacock.
“It’s pretty neat that she picked my house out of everyone’s house,” says the Sullivan Heights resident.
A mama peacock commandeered the welcome mat on his family’s porch a few weeks ago, just outside their front door, and laid four cream-coloured eggs. And there she sits today, bringing local fame and joy to the Barr’s residence.
Jealous neighbours, huh?
“They’re definitely coming by and showing them, and bring their kids by and look at it and everyone’s getting a kick out of it, right?” Barr chuckles. “We haven’t named her yet, no. She decided to put down her most precious thing in the world, her eggs, on my front door step. We kind of figured we’d just leave her right there and respect her and all she’s asking for us is to give her a little bit of space and we’re willing to do that and just go through the garage inside door for her and let her be, let nature take its course.”
Barr’s wife and kids “love it,” he says. “They’re getting a huge kick out of it.”
It’s kind of like having National Geographic at your front door. Speaking of which, according to National Geographic, peacocks are big pheasants. They’re actually peafowl, with the males being peacocks and the females, peahens.
For argument’s sake, let’s just call them peacocks, like everybody does. These birds take to roosting in trees, and hang out in groups known as “parties.” There’s the blue peacock, from Sri Lanka and India, the green peacock from Myanmar and Java, and the Congo peacock. You can guess where that one lives.
National Geographic tells us these big colourful birds have been kept as pets for thousands of years.
Barr hasn’t seen dad.
He says mama is mostly quiet, but when she leaves her nest to find food or whatever, she makes a ruckus on the other side of the road. “Maybe it’s an instinct to get the predators to look away from where she came from, where her eggs are. She doesn’t make a peep anywhere near this house.”
When strolling on the street, though, she walks around like she owns the place, marches up the porch steps and plops herself down on her eggs. “It’s pretty funny,” Barr says. “Every time I come home I kind of stick my head around the side and say, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ I try to give her as much space as possible.”
Surrey’s peacocks are not native to Surrey, of course. Anywhere from a handful to a few dozen of these birds have called this city home, in Sullivan Heights and other neighbourhoods, for about a decade now, hanging out on rooftops and such.
Dr. Sara Dubois, BC SPCA’s chief scientific officer, noted a hobby farm in the area closed down, moved off the property, “and the birds stayed.”
“It sounds like that neighbourhood likes having them there.”
“Some people do privately own them, and have them on a hobby farm, they escape or get loose and sometimes those people move and never go and get their animals. It’ll be interested to see how long that population will last.”
To that end, Mama Peacock’s taking care of business.