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Escaped peacock is lured back to Franklin Park Zoo by mating call from police officer’s phone

The fugitive was wearing iridescent blue and green feathers when he was, for lack of a better word, spotted by a police officer in Boston.

A Boston police officer used an electronic mating call Monday to help capture the peacock that had escaped from a nearby zoo. Boston Police Department via AP

The fugitive was wearing iridescent blue and green feathers when he was, for lack of a better word, spotted by a police officer in Boston.

And once he heard the siren, he gave up without a fight.

But the siren in this case wasn’t what it seemed Monday morning during a police encounter with a runaway peacock in the Roxbury section of Boston.

“An officer on scene relied on his quick wit to track down a peacock mating call on his cellphone,” the Boston Police Department said in a post on its website, “successfully luring the bird into a fenced-in yard where he waited patiently for the arrival of Boston Animal Control.”


The peacock, named Snowbank, had escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo, which is part of Zoo New England and has been closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic. Zoo officials said later Monday that he was back home and doing well.

“The peacocks at Franklin Park Zoo are free-roaming,” Zoo New England said in an email Monday night. “And while they typically wander throughout the zoo, it is currently mating season, and it’s possible he ventured out looking for love in search of a peahen (female peacock).”

The police said that a concerned citizen alerted officers about the fugitive peacock while they were patrolling the area at about 6 a.m. The Police Department posted a photo on its website of the peacock roaming the street; they described the bird as extremely large, slightly intimidating and quite beautiful. The department did not say how far from the zoo Snowbank had strayed.

On YouTube, there is a wide selection of videos on the distinctive mating calls of peacocks, which are reminiscent of the squawking sound of party noisemakers. Some have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Dennis Fett, co-founder of the Peacock Information Center in Minden, Iowa, which he runs with his wife, Debra Buck, said he often tells people who lose a peacock to use one of his online recordings or CDs of peacock noises to lure the bird back.


“I think that was very wise of him to do that,” Fett said of the police officer, whose name the department did not release.

Fett said the sound of a peacock is unmistakable.

“He makes a screeching sound — kind of like a ‘whee’ sound,” Fett said.

Peacocks are known to show off their feathers and rattle their trains as part of their courtship ritual.

Zoo officials said that Snowbank, who will turn 7 in July, has been a resident of the Franklin Park Zoo since 2013.

“We appreciate everyone’s help in bringing him back home,” the zoo said, “and we look forward to welcoming guests back to the zoo to see these beautiful birds in person soon.”


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