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Feathered friend rules Caister garden

PUBLISHED: 10:03 21 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:57 16 September 2010

SHE perches imperious, surveying her kingdom and scaring off any other creatures that may threaten her territory.

Marked out by her distinctive colouring and dominant size, her kind are most likely to be found in the jungles of India or Malaysia.

SHE perches imperious, surveying her kingdom and scaring off any other creatures that may threaten her territory.

Marked out by her distinctive colouring and dominant size, her kind are most likely to be found in the jungles of India or Malaysia.

But, much to the chagrin of its owners, one persistent peahen has chosen a slightly less exotic location in which to rule the roost - a garden in Caister.

Jim and Maureen Middleton have been putting food out for the birds for the 19 years they have lived in their home.

In that time, they have seen everything from motherless blue tits to seagulls and sparrowhawks. What they haven't had before is a bird that stands nearly three feet tall and refuses to leave.

“You wake up wondering whether it's still going to be there, and inevitably it is,” said Jim. “I have no idea where it's come from and it's taken over the garden.”

The couple first discovered the bird two weeks ago on Sunday morning in their back garden, and since then it has decided to stick around.

Blithely indifferent to the couple, the peahen spends its time chasing away seagulls, pigeons and slightly more domesticated animals.

Maureen said: “She doesn't take any notice of us when we go out, but she absolutely petrified a cat that came into the garden.

“And though she leaves the sparrows alone, she goes absolutely crazy when seagulls come along. There was a pigeon on the feeder and they stared each other out, but she jumped and scared the bird off.”

When not enjoying a diet of fat balls and peanuts, the peahen likes surveying her kingdom up on the couple's conservatory roof, disappearing at about 4pm every day behind a holly bush.

Having tried and failed to track down any owners, Jim and Maureen are now unsure what to do about their striking squatter.

“It's not a huge problem but it doesn't belong here,” said Jim, who commented on the mess left by the creature as being one issue.

“It must have come from an aviary of some sort but we've had no luck so far - we even tried the RSPB but couldn't get through.”

Leading Norfolk naturalist Percy Tretts said such creatures were very likely to have come from a wildlife centre and could be destructive to gardens.

He added “It is most probable that she was startled by something and she took off in a panic and forgot to look where she was going.”


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