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Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

A Heffley Creek-area peacock spent some time in solitary confinement after hopping two logging trucks in a quest for love.

Deb McDougall said the three-year-old peacock - who has been dubbed everything from Slippery Pete to Romeo - took off a few weeks ago while his peahen was nesting. While sitting on her eggs for 28 days, the peahen is typically hidden and doesn’t answer his calls so he “kind of freaked out,” McDougall said.

McDougall said they didn’t notice his disappearance at first as they live on a cattle ranch and the peacock has a lot of space to roam, although he does often walk across the street. While she was in Kelowna, though, her husband, Lawrence Bergstrand, called and said the peacock was seen two kilometres away, at a neighbour’s house on the highway to Sun Peaks.

Bergstrand and his mother tried to net the bird and to walk it home, but it was a challenge as peacocks can fly, roost up to 50 feet in a tree and have large talons. The peacock eventually got tired of their antics and started to fly, eventually arriving home the next day, she said.

McDougall said they were curious as to how he got two kilometres away until a friend said she had seen him on the logging truck, which she realized he likely hopped while it was stopped in front of the ranch.

“We didn’t learn our lesson and didn’t lock him up,” she said. A couple of weeks later, McDougall was house-sitting in Heffley Creek when she was rudely awoken one morning by her husband ringing the doorbell. “I opened the door and my husband says ‘we’ve got a problem.’”

The peacock had hitched another lift on a logging truck and was in Heffley Creek, about 10 kilometres from their property. McDougall spent the “better part of two days” trying to round up friends to corner the peacock. They tried fishing nets and ahockey net with weights to try and catch it, to no avail. They eventually ushered the peacock to the first cattleguard on the Sun Peaks Road - at the old Marriott house - and left him there while McDougall called the zoo, SPCA and bird rescue to find out how to get him home.

When someone suggested McDougall should grab his tail feathers - assuring her they wouldn’t come out and it wouldn’t hurt - she decided to give it a shot, as the peacock was causing a ruckus at the property. When she arrived at the property last Thursday, the peacock was sunning himself in the back of the other family’s pickup truck. She offered him peanuts - his favourite food - and then grabbed his tail feathers with both hands.

“He started bucking like a bronco, fighting to get away,” she said, adding she threw him in the back of her SUV. When he got home he was placed in isolation in his chicken coop until his mate was finished nesting. He was finally let out Thursday to protect the peahen when she showed up with four chicks. He ignored her, though, and started preening himself.

McDougall is urging logging truck drivers not to give her peacock any more lifts.

“He went looking for love and surfed 10 kilometres on top of a logging truck,” she said, but despite the ruckus, “it came to a happy ending.”

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