Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

Anyone missing a peacock? Mr. Shouty ruffles feathers in the Isle of Dogs

By on July 20, 2017 in Wildlife

A peacock’s plumage is a wonder of the animal world but few expect to find a peacock on their doorstep when they return home of an evening.

Dan Lee, a policy officer living on the Isle of Dogs, got up an up-close and very personal view of his very own peacock when he returned home to Luralda Wharf on t Wednesday and discovered it sitting on his doorstep.

Nice car. What does it do on an urban cycle?

“Anyone missing a peacock?”

“Er I just got home and there’s a peacock in my complex on the Isle of Dogs. Anyone missing a peacock? Please RT?” tweeted Dan shortly after his discovery.  He soon realised that gaining a surprise peacock does have some benefits.

“This does make us look very opulent. I don’t even own a hamster!”

Despite the very high comedy value of a peacock dropping in Twitter was put to good use in trying to find an organisation that would help in keeping the peacock safe. The Isle  of Dogs, like most of London, has a very high fox population. Not good.

The biggest mystery was, and remains, where on earth did it come from? One of Love Wapping’s Wildlife Rangers tells us that some people keep them as pets and then when they get bored with them just discard them. Hideous behaviour.

For several hours last night the people of Tower Hamlets rallied round and used social media to swap peacock tips. bombard Dan with advice ranging from the excellent to the useless and try and get the peacock rescued.

The Swan Sanctuary, who have helped the LW Rangers rescue many a swan, were contacted and they could not help. The RSPCA were called and they could not attend for 24 hours. Enquiries were made of Mudchute Farm on the Island but they are not peacock-enabled it would seem. Poplar police were busy doing police things but wished to be kept informed.

Isle of Dogs councillor Andrew Woods was in a council meeting but despite this offered advice and suggested ask Mayor Biggs at a suitable point in the proceedings. Now that is really working for your residents!

Even our friend the mighty Ravenmaster at the Tower of London wasn’t able to help. Apparently he only deals with birds of a much duller plumage (who are exceptionally smart however).

Hatching a plan

Wildlife Ranger Samantha, who is a swan specialist with responsibility for Shadwell Basin, contacted one of her many contacts who said that “you only get one chance at catching a peacock then it’s gone.”

This was a major factor when the LW Ranger Team (Peacock People) hatched a plan to drive the peacock to a sanctuary in Essex in Wildlife Ranger Sam’s car.

Obstacles to the success of this mission were identified as:

  1. Peacock probably impossible to catch
  2. No cage to put peacock in for car journey to Essex
  3. Peacock had now flown onto a roof.
  4. Er… that’s it.

As dusk descended over the Isle of Dogs and Mr Fox and friends started prowling the general census of opinion was that the peacock would be fine, if it was a local it would be capable of looking after itself – and God help the foxes.

A restless night for many

Despite this many a Tower Hamlets resident tossed and turned during the night as they wondered what would become of the peacock? Would it manage to get inside Dan’s home and expect dinner? Did it have friends who were just waiting to come and invade the Island en masse?

Bright and early (5am!) the next morning all worries were discarded as the peacock announced its ownership of its roof to the world (see video below) in no uncertain manner. And was immediately christened Mr. Shouty.

Peacock status at 8.45am today was that the peacock was back on the ground sitting outside someone’s door either waiting for it to open or wondering if there was a peacock flap somewhere maybe?

Updates when we get them, many thanks to Dan Lee and his neighbours for the concern they showed for Mr. Shoutie’s welfare. Er.. sorry about the squawks!

What you looking at? Never seen a peacock sitting on your doorstep before?

Update 15:13hrs 20th July – peacock mystery deepens!

If there is trouble in Gotham City you call Batman. If you have a mystery peacock in Tower Hamlets you call John Archer.

John Archer has, in our opinion, the bestest job in Tower Hamlets ever because he is the Biodiversity Officer. Lucky man. Our Wildlife Rangers got in touch with John and asked him for his expert opinion. Here it is:

Not John Archer – but close.

“How bizarre! I’ve no idea where it could have escaped from. If it was somewhere local, residents in the area would know about it.

You’ve heard how loud it is – it’s just not possible to keep peacocks without your neighbours knowing!

I’m not aware of anywhere in the borough that keeps peacocks – your article says that you’ve already tried Mudchute [farm], and I’ve phoned both the other city farms (Stepney and Spitalfields), neither of which keeps peacocks.

They can fly, though not very far.

When I was a kid, a peacock turned up in our garden – it had come from a private collection about 2 miles away where there had been a fire, so they are capable of travelling some distance. But that was in leafy suburbia, not the Isle of Dogs. 

The only thing I can think of is that it might have escaped from a vehicle while being transported. Pheasants and red-legged partridges frequently escape from vans taking them from breeders to shoots – there were a couple of pheasants in Blackwall a few months back which presumably got there that way.

I’d expect someone transporting peacocks to take a bit more care, as they’re worth a lot more money, but it’s still possible that one could escape.

Nor, I’m afraid, do I have any suggestions as to who might want it.

Keeping peacocks in a densely populated area is not a good way to keep your neighbours happy!

If the Royal Parks get back to me to say it could have come from Greenwich Park, or if I hear anything else potentially useful, I’ll let you know. 

Please let me know if you either discover where it came from, or manage to capture and re-home it.”

Cheers,

John Archer

Ah! So now what do we do?

Full peacock drama tweet by tweet

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