Lenard paid us a visit this morning, up close and personal. He was rewarded with a breakfast of grain-bread and a cherry; we’re always honored when he stops by. Lenard the Peacock is the Trillium community’s one-of-a-kind, friendly neighborhood mascot with an iridescent blue neck, vivid-green dotted tail feathers that he occasionally spreads tall, and a tuft of feathers cresting from his head. Hopefully, his stunning appearance would stay any Thanksgiving turkey misidentification by a wayward hunter.
Lenard is becoming an icon in the community, a beautiful if lonely fowl that seems as comfortable walking the lawns of residents and accepting treats as plodding the shrinking tree line nearby. A 20-foot tree stand is the final remnant of the forest he tread before progress eviscerated his unlikely home in Hernando woods.
Lenard can be seen across the pond from us in an elderly neighbor’s yard any given day. Like myself, the man has likely googled peafowl to find out what they eat, which, being omnivores, is most things – including fruit, berries, grains, small mammals, reptiles, small snakes and insects. The near-flightless birds also eat ants, millipedes, crickets, termites, centipedes, locust and scorpions and like seeds, grass, plants, flower petals and berries.
While there are different breeds of these lovely creatures, Lenard perfectly epitomizes the Indian Blue peafowl. Peacocks’ average lifespan is between 15 and 20 years – and Lenard, an adult, appears to be young and healthy. Honestly, this is the crux of the dilemma for Lenard’s fans. To start, Lenard would likely enjoy the intermittent company of a peahen while strolling among the oaks and pines of Hernando. However, that is a highly unlikely scenario – in 15 years, Lenard is the only peafowl I’ve seen wandering the neighborhood.
Besides being deprived of any association with his own species, Lenard is occasionally bullied by groups of screaming sand cranes competing for the same frog and snake delicacies in a nearby retention pond. Then, there is the ever-present danger of traffic. While Lenard seems aware of moving vehicles and usually galumphs across lawns or spurs along sidewalks, cars and trucks are clearly a danger to the semi-domesticated free-bird. I have also noted that dogs are a fright to the old boy. He stopped eating and froze when my dog barked at him from the other side of our fenced back yard. While he is as amiable and free-wheeling a Peacock to humans as you will meet in the county, Lenard doesn’t like dogs.
Peacocks are terrible flyers and Lenard is no exception. On a good day, he might be able to fly a dozen feet or land on a low branch and glide down. Unlike the sand cranes that sporadically scream at him for seeking nourishment from “their” pond, he can’t simply soar away to a friendlier habitat. Like a hobo, he has to hoof it, only he lacks the thumbs and wit to pack a bag.
To be sure, some of us who’ve come to adore Trillium’s majestic mascot are at once in awe of his colorful presence yet concerned about his safety. Perhaps Lenard is best left to his own devices as he has proved himself a capable if lone survivor of his species in the area. Maybe someone has a better idea, for which we’d all be thankful.