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Peacocks Ruffle Feathers In Somerset County

The Daily Times of Salisbury

CRISFIELD, Md. (AP) -- Bob Bradshaw looked out the window one morning and saw what he thought were turkey buzzards perched on the Victorian porch railing that wraps around the front of Bradshaw & Sons Funeral Home.

"I thought, this is bad advertising," he said. "Then I realized they were daggone peacocks."

Bradshaw and his son-in-law quickly shooed them away from the family business on Main Street, but that hasn't deterred the birds from showing up at homes and businesses across town in recent weeks.

The three birds -- a peacock and two peahens -- were even seen trying to break into a downtown store, Bradshaw said.

Others have seen them in backyards, in trees and on roofs from downtown Crisfield to Down Neck outside town.

"People see them every single day," said attorney John Phoebus, who nearly ran over one a few days ago when it suddenly darted out into the street from between two parked cars. "Everybody knows them."

But even though the birds are beautiful, they may be ... well, bird-brained.

Phoebus said the male gets aggressive when he sees his own reflection.

"I've seen him fighting with the side of my car," he said.

Sue Heath, who lives outside town and has pet peacocks, said that sort of behavior is common.

"When they're in heat, anything they see, they'll peck at it," she said.

The birds seen around town probably wandered away from home because their owner didn't keep them penned long enough, she said.

Peacocks need to be confined for months before they can be turned loose.

"Then they realize they're home and they stay put," she said.

The birds are very fast and they can fly so it will be difficult to catch them, Heath said.

While some people in Crisfield find the peacocks amusing, there are plenty who don't.

Somerset County Animal Control has received numerous complaints after the birds scratched cars and created other problems, said Jim Henderson, the department's director.

On two occasions, Animal Control employees were called to Woodson Elementary School, where the peacocks were frightening small children walking along a path between the school and Somers Cove Apartments.

The birds also had to be chased off the school roof, Henderson said.

Probably the only way to catch them is to bait an area, and then shoot nets over them, but Animal Control doesn't have that sort of equipment, he said.

Meanwhile, frustrated residents have suggested other means for dealing with the pesky peacocks.

"Everybody wants us to shoot them, but that's not going to happen," Henderson said.

Information from: The Daily Times of Salisbury, Md.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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