TORONTO — A roving peacock that captivated Toronto residents as it fluttered from roof to roof has made his way back to the city zoo he escaped from last week.
The colourful bird returned to his enclosure at the High Park Zoo sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, after first spending some time in the bison pen.
“While he readjusts to his habitat, he will be kept in the bird house in the evening,” said Nancy Macsween, a spokeswoman with the city’s parks and recreation department. “We will not be taking any further measures that would restrict the bird’s access and freedom.”
It wasn’t the first time the peacock had flown the coop, but it appeared to have been the bird’s longest stint away from home.
The fine-feathered fowl initially broke out of his enclosure last Wednesday, was coaxed back into his pen on Thursday and escaped again Friday morning, causing a stir as he was seen wandering down laneways, perching in trees and roosting on rooftops in a west-end Toronto neighbourhood.
Many flocked to social media to report sightings and post pictures of the peacock. And it didn’t take long for someone to start a Twitter account with posts from the bird’s perspective.
“I’m coming home, I’m coming home, tell the world I MIGHT be coming home,” the account tweeted on Monday, before adding on Wednesday. “Good to be home.”
Animal control officers tried to capture the bird using blankets and nets but stopped actively pursuing the peacock on Saturday because they were afraid of driving him further away.
Earlier this week an official with the city’s parks department said feeding stations would be set out in local parks to draw the bird to a location where he could be captured.
It appeared, however, that the bird was content making his own way back to his home, in his own time.
“This guy’s a little bit more adventurous, as we know, but the amount of attention he’s gotten over the last few days may have disoriented him,” said Coun. Sarah Doucette, whose ward includes the zoo, adding that the reaction to the peacock’s travels has been “amazing.”
“When this bird was out, everyone was really concerned about it,” she said. “Even if we couldn’t reach him we generally knew where he was.”
Zoo staff will be monitoring the peacock’s movements over the next few days to see if the bird gets restless in his enclosure again.
The zoo has five peacocks and eight peahens that live in an enclosure with three-metre high fences. They roost in the trees within the enclosure at night and usually stay close to their food.
The peacock’s closely followed wanderings came as at least two other animals made news in the Toronto region.
A deer took an accidental dip in a Whitby, Ont., pool earlier this week before being tranquilized and fished out, while in Newmarket, Ont., a bear was shot to death by police officers after being cornered in the backyard of a home.
The bear’s death triggered backlash from a number of residents who argued the animal ought to have been tranquilized, not killed. Police said, however, that their officers weren’t equipped with tranquilizers and couldn’t wait for Ministry of Natural Resources staff to arrive to subdue the bear.
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Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press