Mystery of missing peacock solved


The mystery of why a peacock is hanging out with wild turkeys in the Ralph Hoeft neighborhood in rural Princeton has been solved.
It turns out that the peacock, which Hoeft said he first noticed in the neighborhood last summer, belongs to Hoeft’s neighbor Joel Ihnen. Ihnen had the peacock in captivity until it escaped last May.
Hoeft began throwing out grain for the turkeys and peacock after snow began covering grain residue left over from the harvest in area farm fields.
Hoeft had noticed wild turkeys around his area for many years, since an organization released wild turkeys in the area, but had not expected to see a peacock.
Ihnen also filled in some information on the peacock. It is a black shoulder male peacock, and not the common variety of peacock with grayish shoulders.
The reason the tail feathers are not as long on the peacock this winter is because the male peacock sheds tail feathers, starting in about December when the number of daylight hours have decreased, Ihnen said. The tail feathers later begin growing back so that the tail will be long again in about June, Ihnen added.
Ihnen, who has a veterinary business in Zimmerman, said the peacock that got loose from his place will be two years old this spring. It had been in captivity along with a female peacock that is still at the Ihnen place. He says he at one time also had another female peacock but it died last winter.
Ihnen says the errant peacock, after getting loose from its pen, was moving around in his pole barn but that every time he tried catching it, the peacock would evade his grasp. Shortly after that he saw the peacock in woods behind his place, and was setting out grain for it. But it is likely content being over at the land owned by Hoeft and his son Robert, since Ralph began feeding the peacock and wild turkeys, Ihnen said.
Ihnen says he isn’t sure if he will try to get his peacock back, explaining that he thinks it is kind of funny seeing the peacock loose with the turkeys. Peacocks can stand cold but they don’t like winter wind, Ihnen said. The peacock likely snuggles with the huddled wild turkeys when they all roost at night, Ihnen added.
The Union-Eagle contacted Hoeft after receiving Ihnen’s information. Hoeft responded that he had been contacted by a man from west of Pease who thought the peacock might be the one that had escaped from his place. But the man never did get a look at the peacock, so nothing could be confirmed there, Hoeft said.
Ihnen, talking more about the roaming peacock, said there was a storm about the time the peacock got loose at his place. The storm knocked over a corner post for a gate and the peacock “probably left via the gate,” Ihnen said.
Hoeft was featured in a recent story in the Union-Eagle, talking about how he scatters grain for the peacock and the 15 wild turkeys it has been mixed in with this winter.