A wayward peacock dodged would-be rescuers in a Huntington neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, resisting “mating calls” and skipping off five minutes before a Lattingtown farmer arrived to see if it was his bird.
Residents first noticed the fine-feathered visitor the day before as he jumped backyard fences, hustled along roadways and turned into a social media hit, with concerned citizens basically asking, “Did you lose a peacock?”
The call of the peacock had animal lovers Tuesday imitating the bird’s high-pitched mating sounds to find him as farmer Eddie Armstrong drove about 12 miles and more than an hour to see if it was his Pea, as the bird is called, one of an “inseparable” pair that roamed his chicken farm until he flew the coop last Tuesday.
“Wow,” Armstrong said when he was told a bird like his was making the rounds in Huntington. “I guess it has to be mine.”
The peacock showed up at 10 a.m. for 10 minutes on Jill Rowbow’s drivweay.
“It was at my place until the dog discovered it was in our driveway,” Rowbo said.
Peacock hunters monitored his trek through sightings posted online and kept in touch with Armstrong. Two hours later, it was back and perched on a neighbor’s rooftop when Armstrong called Rowbo to ask her to corral it into her garage.
“I said I don’t even touch dead goldfish out of the fishtank,” she recalled, “and I dont know how to get this bird into the garage.”
But as requested, she put down a slice of whole wheat bread to entice the peacock down onto her neighbor’s roof.
It worked — except it took Armstrong an hour to arrive.
“It was content to stay until it got full enough and then it was gone,” Rowbo said.
Five minutes later, Armstrong came with concerned peacock hunters, one of whom played a loud mating call on her cellphone, but no peacock strutted out of the yards.
Since Pea left the farm on the aptly named Peacock Lane, people have called Armstrong with sightings around Lattingtown. He’s rushed out, only to get there too late.
The pair that he calls Pea and Pea II are both 5 and had lived together for two years until Pea disappeared. Pea has no white on his feathers, while Pea II has plenty of white.
Now, Armstrong is resigned to the fact that Pea may be a bird of the past. After all, the 81-year-old said, he has a farm to run.
“If I get a call from Huntington, I’ll go over there,” Armstrong said. “If he got a foot away from me, I could catch him. I could just divebomb him . . . If I don’t get it back, so be it.”
Pea, if it is him, has dazzled whoever sees him.
Just before dinnertime Monday, Lyndia Agrillo said her neighbor asked her to come see a winged visitor, to which Agrillo replied something like “Shut up! There’s no peacock in your yard!”
Shortly after that, she posted a shot of what she now conceded was a peacock, on the Parents of Huntington Facebook page.
“It was a gorgeous cobalt blue,” Agrillo said of the bird. “It was certainly the coolest thing I’d ever seen in a long time.”
The peacock pecked and poked the ground for food in silence. Spooked as curious humans inched closer, he jumped over the fence of Agrillo’s neighbor’s backyard and then hurdled two more.
Agrillo tracked his progress through sightings posted on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat — a two-mile peacock journey completed in 50 minutes. Agrillo said as the bird did his backyard leapfrogging, she worried the peacock would end up in the teeth of a neighborhood pooch.
“Everybody here has a dog in their backyards, so we were nervous about that,” she said. “But apparently it escaped. Hopefully it’s smart.”
Armstrong’s neighbor, Sandra Mikas, said her sons miss the peacocks, which they named Gerard and Gulliver.
And it’s Gulliver’s travels that have Gerard wailing for his “inseparable” companion. The two would wander the farm together — an avian bromance — then they’d fly at night to fall asleep at the chimney of Armstrong’s two-story home, she said.
But without his pal, the lone peacock doesn’t even sleep by the chimney anymore, she said.
“He sits in a tree and cries all night,” Mikas said. “Now I am heartbroken for him. All he does is wander around and call out.”
She said she may drive to Huntington to look for the bird to see whether it’s Pea, and she’ll be armed with the peacock version of junk food: breadcrumbs, marshmallows and apples.
“I feel terrible,” she said. “I want him to go home.”
With Valerie Kellogg and Laura Blasey