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The Case of the Missing Peacocks

Seabright neighbors miss the duo that kept them entertained for a year. Have you seen them?

Bonnie Aldridge was out in the back working on her garden when she heard the clumsy crashes. She looked up and there they were—a pair of peacocks sitting on her fence and staring intently at her.

An ornithologist might want to step in right here and correct us. These weren't peacocks, but pea hens, the female of the species with the green and turquoise necks, but not the NBC tailfeathers. Or if you want to be even more correct, you can call them peafowl. 

Regardless, they were colorful characters and became entertainers for the whole neighborhood around her Hanover Street home in the neighborhood two blocks behind the new Staff of Life and two blocks west of Seabright Avenue, just by the Gault Library.

"It was just a magical delight," says Aldridge, 59, an early childhood education teacher at Cabrillo College who has lived in the neighborhood for a decade and now wonders where the birds have gone.

"They were incredible here."

The pair, which she named Lolo and Lizzy, didn't act much like wild animals. Lolo, the bigger one, would knock on the sliding-glass door when she wanted some dogfood or popcorn, treats both birds favored.

One time, she just pushed open the door and walked in demanding her share and pushing aside Aldridge's cat Cheddar and her dog, Annie, a shih tzu. There became something of a pecking order around the house, if you will. The birds would make a loud noise, shaking their stumpy little tails and rolling out their feathers to scare the cat and grab its food.

When the dog came out, the birds would back down, strut away and let it eat.

The birds flew, clumsily, over an area of a few blocks. They liked rooftops and were spotted June 20 on the roof of Mackenzies Chocolates at 1492 Soquel Ave., according to a local newspaper

Animal control was called but did nothing, saying the birds weren't injured.

They plopped down many times on Aldridge's roof. They would tap at the skylight and play with a duster she held up there. They went to bed with the sun, sleeping in a tree in Aldridge's backyard, and they woke up between 4:15 and 6 a.m.

She knew by the loud plops or the honking sound they seemed to have picked up from some geese.

Plenty of experts stopped in to see the birds. Some said they were juvenile males; others said they were females.

"It was about an even split," said Aldridge. "The same percentage as with experts in other fields."

Kids went to visit, fascinated. If they stood still in the driveway, Lolo would eat popcorn out of their hands. It brought the neighborhood together. People shared stories about the birds. They brought relatives and kids to see them. Aldridge's house became a local landmark.

The birds had their quirks. They would answer to their names. They ate all of the green beans, sweet peas and Romaine lettuce. They ignored all the other types of lettuce. They liked dogfood more than catfood. 

Then one day in late June, they were gone. It was shortly after a neighbor complained about the noise they made in the daytime when she had to sleep, but that was probably coincidence, says Aldridge.

It's a mystery for the whole neighborhood. Maybe the wild birds went back to being wild. Maybe they found another household. Maybe—well, let's not go there.

"I just wonder where they are. Maybe someone will see this and know."

If you have seen the missing peacocks, pea hens or peafowl, drop us a comment here.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of pictures here to help you identify them.

Fran Wincek July 12, 2011 at 02:25 PM
We had a semi-wild pair up here in Lompico for several years, 2 males: Peabody and Paris. They disappeared, too, and you could feel the bit a magic they brought gone *poof* Sad but this is Life on The Mudball *sigh* You were blessed and lucky to have had them!!
Barbara Collins July 12, 2011 at 04:25 PM
One of the peahens has been hanging out in the 300 block of Pacheco Avenue. She's had an equally enthusiastic following here!
tami ellis July 12, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Great article and lovely pictures!
Bonnie Aldridge July 14, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Hi Barbara, This is Bonnie from Hanover. Is the one peahen still over by you? Any sightings of the second? They were such a devoted pair the year they were with me, I hope they are still together.
Robert Aston July 20, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Lolo (now called Lucy) has moved into my garden behind my house (Pacheco Ave near Soquel). She went straight for my Romaine and has been eying my beans. She hangs out with my three chickens and sometimes roosts in the large tree out front. she is on her own now.
Elaine Rivas July 20, 2011 at 03:09 AM
I saw two of them together one night at Almena and Pacheco - about a week or two ago...
Victoria July 20, 2011 at 05:54 AM
Yes,they are in the East Morrissey neighborhood now. They were on our roof on Pacheco tonight.
Bonnie Aldridge July 20, 2011 at 05:25 PM
I'm happy to hear Lucy/Lolo finding chickens to hang with and so thrilled to hear that she was seen with "Lizzy" last night. They are a very devoted pair and in my hood always kept an eye out for one another. They preen one another and often do their screeching call to find one another when they are unsure of their where-a-bouts. I hope that Pacheco folks are able to bask in their delight and tolerate the shrill of their call!
Vicki August 08, 2011 at 03:18 PM
They've been hanging around my neighborhood, last saw one on Friday morning - on San Juan
Nora September 03, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Ditto to Vicki's comment. I haven't seen them myself, but my 5 year old daughter told me she saw peacock near our house on San Juan. I thought she was "imagining things," but neighbors here have seen them roosting. I need to give my kindergartner more credit!

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