Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Peacocks venture into South Tampa from who knows where?

VIRGINIA PARK — Two peacocks sauntered into town last month.

From where is a mystery.

"We've never seen peacocks here," said Charles Buckalew, who moved into his home a block north of El Prado Boulevard with his wife, Rebecca, in 1967.

"It's kind of exciting," she said.

While peacocks have long populated neighboring suburbia in Wellswood, Westchase, Carrollwood and Brandon, these birds have people talking.

Did they escape from someone? Did Tropical Storm Debby chase them here?

Cars slow to capture iridescent plumage for YouTube and Facebook. A woman sets out cat food and they stop for a snack.

The feathered pair were spied on Manhattan Avenue, near the library, peering into businesses along El Prado and Bay to Bay boulevards and strutting through yards and streets and on rooftops everywhere in between. Some say the duo was with a peahen.

The talk travels through love and hate. Are they pets or pests, beauty or trouble?

Earlier this week, they perched on a rooftop on Vasconia Street with the blessing of the owner.

A few blocks north, Jay Marvel isn't fooled by their feathers. He remembers the peacocks that wandered his former neighborhood in Land O'Lakes.

"They're nasty," he said. "They scratch your mirrors. They screech."

He watched them recently in high grass in a yard next to his along S Lois Avenue and in a wooded area a few blocks farther.

On El Prado Boulevard, Charles McShane agrees.

"It was entertaining till it got messy," said McShane, who owns McShane Communications.

The duo pace back and forth, preening into the reflective film covering his wall-length windows.

Peacocks are notorious narcissists and who could blame them?

But soon piles of poop grew and beaks scratched windows.

McShane escorted them across the street, he said: "Like herding ducks."

Peacocks set out a territory, typically in spring during mating season, said Phil Hillary, manager of zoological operations at Busch Gardens.

"There's a good possibility they were pushed out by another peacock," he said.

Not from Busch Gardens, where an Indian blue peacock and three peahens live, along with a pair of green peafowl.

Typically, peafowl live in a small group, known as a muster, made up of a cock and three to five hens.

Hillary has never seen high winds affect birds at Busch Gardens. More likely, he guesses, it's love in spring time.

Peacocks are a ground bird, in the family of turkeys and chickens who prefer to run. But they can fly.

They're really good at a short burst up into a tree or onto a building to roost at night, said Hillary, who started breeding pheasants and partridges as a teen and went on to get a zoology degree specializing in ornithology.

"People think they're a neat pet," he said. "Keep in mind they can be loud and annoying to neighbors."

In the mornings, peacocks call — a raucous, plaintive cry that sounds like a child in distress — to alert females to their whereabouts and ward off males.

Peacocks originated in India but were brought to America long ago. They can live about 20 to 24 years and are typically docile and curious.

But if a peafowl sees a human during the first 24 hours after hatching, it may grow up confused. By design, Hillary said, birds bond in this phase.

"They think they're human or they think you're a bird," he said.

When this happens, birds are more likely to see humans as rivals or as suitors and can be aggressive.

He encourages people to admire them from afar. Feeding them can lead to problems.

"They are wild birds no matter how friendly they may seem," he said.

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3431.

Comments
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets.The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 0 minutes ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

Rays are suddenly swinging hot bats, but will it last?

ST. PETERSBURG — Good pitching and hitting go hand in glove, but the Rays did not look like a team that could swing the bats very well until this completed homestand.In their series sweep over the Twins, Tampa Bay scored 8, 10 and 8 runs. ...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

Rick Stroud’s takeaways from Rays-Twins

–Yonny Chirinos may be the Rays fourth starter, but it seems to be in name only. He was lifted after pitching 4 2/3 innings against the Twin on Sunday, the shortest start of his career and his second-shortest appearance.  "Going into the g...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

Rays’ Carlos Gomez hits two-run walkoff homer to beat Twins for series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG — With every swing, there is a chance Carlos Gomez is going to do something extraordinary with the baseball bat.He may swing so violently that he spins himself into the ground as if he were an oil drill. Or, you could see him sna...
Updated: 3 hours ago

nationwideTravelers face delays as jet engines inspectedScores of Southwest Airlines travelers were facing delays or cancellations Sunday due to emergency inspections following the mid-air explosion of an engine on one of the airline’s 737s last week...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Waffle House hero says shooter would’ve had ‘to work to kill me’; another crude Theta Tau frat video surfaces at Syracuse; more in U.S. news

Waffle House hero says shooter would’ve had ‘to work to kill me’; another crude Theta Tau frat video surfaces at Syracuse; more in U.S. news

TennesseeShooter had ‘to work to kill me’The man who wrestled the gun away from the nearly naked Waffle House shooter in Nashville said Sunday if he were going to die, the gunman would "have to work to kill me." Police and Waffle House CEO Walter Ehm...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., April 22, midday:2-2 7-3-9 4-4-6-8e_SRit3-8-8-6-0Sun., April 22, evening:6-2 8-6-0 8-3-9-8e_SR...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capital

Islamic State suicide bomber kills 57 in Afghan capital

Associated PressKABUL, Afghanistan — An Islamic State suicide bomber carried out an attack at a voter registration center in the capital Kabul on Sunday, killing 57 people and wounding more than 100 others, said officials from the Afghan interior and...
Updated: 4 hours ago