Audrey Pavia
April 18, 2011

Photo by Audrey Pavia

Elvis the peacock took up temporary residence in the yard of our urban farm.

This morning at dawn, when I went outside to feed the horses, I heard the usual chorus of roosters crowing all over town. But I also heard something else I hadn’t experienced in a while: the low kee-yaw kee-yaw kee-yaw of a peacock.

A flock of feral peacocks lives about half a mile away, and every spring, they begin their ritual of calling in the morning and then again at sunset. The bird I heard this morning sounded a lot closer than usual. I started to wonder if maybe Elvis had returned.

Elvis was a stunning male peacock who showed up at our house one week before Christmas Eve two years ago. I remember walking out the front door and seeing this stunning bird in the front yard, surrounded by our desert landscaping. I’ll never forget the blue of his feathers. It was a color I had never seen before. You could get completely lost in it.

Randy promptly named the bird Elvis, and we watched with amazement as this gorgeous creature made our front yard his home for the next two weeks. We were the talk of the neighborhood. People kept asking me where we got the peacock. When I would tell them that he just showed up one day and decided to stay, they stared at me in disbelief. 

During the days Elvis was with us, I always wondered why he chose our home. There must be 20 houses between where the feral flock lives and our house. Why did he settle in our yard?

Elvis spent most of his time wandering among the cactus, but would roost at night on our porch railing. We had a lot of rain in those two weeks, and he found ample shelter under the awning.

Sometimes Elvis would sit on the windowsill of my office and look in at the cats, who were transfixed as they stared back at him through the glass. 

Randy and I loved seeing this incredible bird in our yard every day and hoped he would stay forever. I began feeding him chicken pellets to encourage him to make our house his permanent home. But it wasn’t to be. The day after New Year’s, Elvis left. A few days later, I saw him hanging out on a roof down the street. He seemed to be slowly making his way back to the flock.

The time Elvis was a guest in our yard was magical. When he left, our sadness was immense. To help ease our woes, we bought a stained glass panel of a peacock and hung it in the dining room window that faces the front yard. In the late afternoon, when the sun shines through the glass, the peacock’s indigo features glow. They are almost as beautiful as the real thing.

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