Mystery surrounds the appearance of large numbers of peacocks who seem to have taken quite a leap from a Norfolk town.
Phillip Eglen spotted seven birds that stayed in his Dereham garden for several hours last week.
He said he occasionally saw one or two, but the sheer number came as a surprise, and his photo prompted others to report similar recent visits.
It is unknown if they have escaped or are on an adventure.
No one has yet come forward to claim the group – known as the “display” – of peacocks.
But many in the city have posted their own photographs, including one of eight perched atop a rooftop.
Mr Eglen, who has lived in a housing estate in Dereham for 12 years, sat and watched the group ‘follow the sun around’ in his garden for around three hours.
“I felt like I was being invaded; half of them were balancing on the fence in an almost intimidating way, like the opening of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds,” he joked.
“They’ve been here for so long that I was starting to wonder if I now owned a show and should start looking for peacock food online.”
When the group left, they didn’t get far, and several more people added their photos of the peacock to the local Facebook group post.
The Thetford-based British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) said on its website that the most commonly kept peafowl were Indian peafowl – “familiar as an ornamental species, often associated with stately homes, but the free-flying nature and tendency to wander some distance means that individuals may show up elsewhere”.
Nick Moran, from the BTO, said: ‘It is difficult for observers to know whether a particular individual or group of peafowl is self-sustaining and/or breeding in a ‘wild’ state – or are they just wide-ranging birds from a nearby collection. or other ‘captive’ source.
“Anecdotally, there has been an increase in captive bird releases since the onset of bird flu. It is possible that people are unwilling or unable to meet biosecurity measures and are releasing their birds instead.”
Mr Eglen said that since posting his photographs, peacocks have become the talk of the town and his local pub, aptly named The Cock.
“I have come to be known as Lord P [for Phillip] Shit,” he said.
“I hope they come to visit us again.
“It is an honor to have been their honorary guardian, even if for a short time, because I think they are magnificent and very beautiful.”
The BTO said it ‘welcomes records of all birds in the wild in the UK, via the BirdTrack app or website, to gain a clearer picture of their populations and any impact they may have. “.
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