Three peacocks in New York retire at sanctuary after 21 years

Three peacocks in New York retire after 21 years
Phil, a white peacock, is seen on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine grounds, Manhattan, New York, United States, January 20, 2023, credit; Reuters/Hussein Waaile

The peacocks Phil, Jim and Harry have strutted on the grounds of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York for 21 years. They showed their feathers of vibrant white, iridescent blues and greens and amused everyone who came across them in the Morningside Heights neighbourhood of upper Manhattan in New York City.

But after 21 years, it was time for the three peacocks to retire at an animal sanctuary in upstate New York. Harry and Jim are Indian Blue peacocks, and Phil is a white peacock.

Harry had to move earlier to Animal Nation, an animal sanctuary run by volunteers in South Salem in New York because he broke his foot a couple of months ago. “We are grateful for the opportunity to give Jim, Harry, and Phil a peaceful existence, a life that all animals deserve,” Animal Nation said.

“These peacocks were a gift from an eighth-grade class 21 years ago. They arrived here as little babies. There was a team of people here who really understood peacocks, and they had a home inside the garage. They would come outside. They were trained. Their wings were clipped so they would stay within the area,” Lisa Schubert, VP of programming and external relations at the cathedral, told news agency Reuters.

“And then, as they grew older, they just took ownership of the grounds and captured the imagination of everyone. So after 20 years, we just started thinking that they needed more care and more attention than we could give them at the cathedral. So the time had come to find a place that could do that, and we learned about Animal Nation and are so sad and happy that they’ll be moving there,” Schubert said.

When asked what she would miss most about the peackons, Schubert responded: “The liveliness and the love and how they bring the community together. There are so many people, you don’t think about how divided we are when you’re with these peacocks. It’s just about love and beauty and magic. Whatever you think about the realms of the sacred, the peacocks add this spiritual dimension that pulls people together in awe, and so that I’m going to miss.”

Angela Robinson has been caring for the peacocks at the cathedral for the past two years. “They’re my feather babies. Oh, my goodness. Sorry. Oh, goodness (crying). I take good care of them. They know me. I buy them peanuts, almonds and everything.”

“On Sundays, I’d be so excited when people come and ask questions about them. Phil, the white one, as soon as he sees your camera, he opens up, and he takes his foot, he puts his foot up like this here. And he turns all the way around. He does a little twirl,” Robinson said.

“That’s one of the pleasures of coming to work in the morning and talking to them. And when I talk to them, I go inside (pointing to their house), and I go talk to them, they turn, and they look at me while I’m talking to them. Then when I finish, I say, ‘All right, guys, I’ll talk to you later,’ and I make sure that their house is warm and everything,” she said while wiping away her tears.


Sign up for weekly animal news

* indicates required
Previous articleThousands protest in Portugal for animal rights
Next articleTiger attacks rabbit at Chinese New Year ceremony at China zoo