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View Full Version : Peacocks make horrible sounds.


Oregon sunshine
05-11-2004, 10:53 AM
The up-side is, we got a free peacock from some nice folks who lost him. After we found him and responded to the lost & found ad in the paper, the guy came to the farm, thought the peacock liked it better here than at his house, and gave us the bird. It was awesome!

The bad news is: mature peacocks make the most horrible sounds you can possible imagine emanating from a bird, or from any animal for that matter.

When he heard we got a peacock, my friend who went to private school in India said, "Noisy, aren't they?" I was surprised to hear that and told him that no, our (at the time juvenile) peacock hadn't uttered so much as a peep. My friend said, "Just wait."

Little did I know that once our pretty, friendly bird got a little bigger and more feathered, he would start making noises that range from simply HORRIFIC to MIND-MELTINGLY GROTESQUE. His easiest sound to deal with is a noisy bray that sounds like an extremely loud donkey/goose sound cross. The rest of his repertoire includes:

1. An ear-splitting --uhhhhhhh-- sound ("squawk" doesn't quite cover it) that resembles a foghorn-volume kazoo, with undertones of someone moaning in pain
2. The resonant sound of a cat being murdered
3. And most horrifying of all - the CHILD CRYING IN PAIN EXTREMELY LOUDLY noise that woke me up echoing across the at four o'clock this morning.

For the love of all that is holy. I had no idea that an animal could make such flesh-crawling, nightmare inducing noises. I think the worst part (besides the sheer volume) is the eerily human-sounding tones that underlie every noise the bird makes. I am not exaggerating when I say that "horrific" is the best descriptor for his most pleasant sound. Even though I know it's the peacock, every time he makes a sound, I jump and say "WTF was that????? ... Oh, it's the peacock" - It's a good thing I developed a fondness for the creature before he became mature enough to make peacock noises. I really and truly cannot adequately describe - nor believe - these sounds.

That's all. I'm going to call my friend and let him know he wasn't kidding.

Green Cymbeline
05-11-2004, 11:29 AM
Tell us more about the peacock. Like, does he have a personality? How does he act toward you? Does he have his big plumage yet? Maybe you have a photo you can post? Maybe he just needs a pea-hen to talk to ;)

Mangetout
05-11-2004, 11:32 AM
Nah, you're just hearing it in the wrong context - it can be a most wonderful and exotic noise when heard in the misty grounds of a grand country mansion.

plnnr
05-11-2004, 11:36 AM
They do make one helluva racket, don't they?

The tail display is done during their mating ritual, so you'll want to get a pea hen if you want the full show. Unfortunately, they also get more vocal. The neighbor of a former girlfriend had about half a dozen, and they were just obnoxious (the peacocks, not the neighbors).

Green Cymbeline
05-11-2004, 11:40 AM
Check out this thread from last year: There are peacocks in my cul de sac!! (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=190193)

Some quotes about the sounds peacocks make from the above thread:
That always sound like tortured little children to me. Why can't they have a beautiful call?
They sound kinda like this: "Kaay-YOW, kaay-YOW, kaay-YOW!", except at about 120 decibels. After a couple of days of it, you start planning peacock menus.
Yup, peacocks are noisy, loud, stupid and kind of mean. We had one for a couple of years, just showed up one day, and our home was thirty miles from the nearest town, so I don't get that at all. Anyway, I still have dreams where I hear that bird calling, like a lost child crying.
They're pure class until they open their beaks. To me, they sound like a cross between a seriously distressed baby and a cat in heat, only much, much louder.
A neighbor across the street from the house I lived in when I was in grade school had peacocks. And they hardly ever shut up. From my bedroom at the front of the house it sounded just like someone crying out "Help me, help me, help me". Sort of unnerving to a kid.
A long time ago my parents lived next to a guy who raised peahens and you could hear them squalling a mile away. One of my sister's friends was visiting and asked what the noise was, so my sister told her it was the local S & M parlor.
And earthpuppy posted this link to a sound clip: http://ilovewavs.com/Effects/Birds/Peacock.wav

Oregon sunshine
05-11-2004, 01:31 PM
Thanks for all the replies lol! Especially the previous thread re: peacocks & their sounds. I didn't search because I figured there was no way anyone else would've posted a peacock sounds thread. Color me mistaken.

Tell us more about the peacock. Like, does he have a personality? How does he act toward you? Does he have his big plumage yet? Maybe you have a photo you can post?

Thanks for asking! The peacock is very friendly and inquisitive. (Unfortunately, I have no way to put pictures on the web - he's quite beautiful, too) According to the former owners, he was hand fed. He follows us around in a nervous sort of way and often stretches his (elegant, cobalt blue) neck up to see what you're doing. He doesn't have the huge tail feathers yet, but he does have fringey dark tail feathers about 2-3 feet long which he can pick up vertically for a display. He often does what I guess is the mating display for our female ducks (poor things!), where he lifts up the tail, fluffs out his wings, and does what I call the moon walk. It's more of a jerky and staccatto motion than the MJ moonwalk. This behavior preceded the crazy, horror movie sounds, and always got a giggle. I'm sure he needs a peahen desperately.

Another friend of mine concurred on the phone today - get him a peahen, he'll shut up (hopefully). Then - maybe - more free peacocks!!

Our peacock was immediately named "Pooper" after we acquired him because the first thing he did when I caught him (my s.o. was the netter, I was the grabber) was sh*t all down the front of me. Luckily I was wearing work clothes. Incidentally, the smell of peacock sh*t is the worst of all the sh*ts I've ever smelled, cat included. (TMI!!!!) It's true! Peacock poo is bad to match the sounds... (can you curse in MPSIMS??) Anyway, the name really stuck (no pun intended!), and later during a family discussion it came up again. someone - "Pooper isn't quite elegant enough for such a beautiful bird." my s.o. - "Well, Prince Pooper, then." That name stuck pretty well too.

Nah, you're just hearing it in the wrong context - it can be a most wonderful and exotic noise when heard in the misty grounds of a grand country mansion.

Thanks Mangetout. I can only imagine! I guess the surroundings of our country hick paradise in the dead of night doesn't quite have the same cachet :).

Anyway, he's a nice bird, and most of the time a joy to be around. I think he's lonely for other peacocks. As I've learned since starting this poultry petting zoo venture, every species has its drawbacks, but what a surprise! Noises that are worse than nails on a chalkboard. (BTW no one else that lives here is bothered at all - I'm either the only one that gets the willies from those noises or else everyone else around here is feigning nonchalance.)

Green Cymbeline
05-11-2004, 02:31 PM
Wow that is really cool, ggurl! So you run a poultry petting zoo? You are so lucky to have all those little guys around, it must be so much fun. And, I really like his name! (no seriously!)

tarragon918
05-11-2004, 02:52 PM
One of my cousins has a pet peacock; his name is Jewels. He had a pea hen mate, but she disappeared about a year or so ago--they think maybe a wild animal got her (their house borders on farm land/forest). My cousin got some baby pea chicks, hoping that one of them would be a hen, but the chicks must have had something wrong because she lost all three of them, just after hurricane Isabel last fall. And they were all males to begin with (apparently, it's kind of hard to discern male from female when they're still chicks).

I have pics of Jewels in full regalia, he's beautiful, but my cousin has described his squawk as a cross between a girl hollaring and a goose honking. She said the first time her b-i-l heard it, that it scared him half to death! I hear something about Jewels just about every week--he likes to go up on the roof of my cousin's house and once there, he "talks" to anyone and everyone who comes around; the garbage men especially, apparently. And oh yes, once he's up on the roof, he can torment the neighbor's dogs. Of course, sometimes he goes up there because they have chased him up there, mind you. :D Now sometime in the summer, they do shed all their tail feathers, so be prepared for a de-feathered peacock. They do come back in though.

Oregon sunshine
05-11-2004, 03:55 PM
Wow that is really cool, ggurl! So you run a poultry petting zoo? You are so lucky to have all those little guys around, it must be so much fun. And, I really like his name! (no seriously!)

Thanks nyctea scandiaca! The petting zoo thing, I just call it that, but seriously, we could have one. In fact, my friend who stopped by today told me we should put up a sign. Besides Prince Pooper, we also have a mallard mom with 11 two-day-old ducklings, three nesting geese along with the 15 or so other geese, including four babies about a week old (the geese stay in flocks and protect the babies and nesting mothers), twenty assorted ducks (mallard, Indian runner, Muscovy, and white Pekin), three turkeys (they're too sweet natured to kill and eat!), five guineas, and about a hundred chickens of different types. Plus the dog, three cats, and a tribe of rather unique humans. ;)

We joke that it's either a mini-scale Jurassic Park, or the live substitute for the Discovery Channel. Bird behavior is fascinating!

Hunter Hawk
05-11-2004, 04:10 PM
Our peacock was immediately named "Pooper" after we acquired him because the first thing he did when I caught him (my s.o. was the netter, I was the grabber) was sh*t all down the front of me. Luckily I was wearing work clothes. Incidentally, the smell of peacock sh*t is the worst of all the sh*ts I've ever smelled, cat included. (TMI!!!!) It's true! Peacock poo is bad to match the sounds... (can you curse in MPSIMS??) Anyway, the name really stuck (no pun intended!), and later during a family discussion it came up again. someone - "Pooper isn't quite elegant enough for such a beautiful bird." my s.o. - "Well, Prince Pooper, then." That name stuck pretty well too.
No no no--you should get a second peacock and name that one "Prince". That way you'd have the Prince and...oh, never mind.

Gulo gulo
05-11-2004, 05:25 PM
Oh christ. Peacocks. One of our neighbours just got some.

On our land we have a bunch of pheasants and quail. All it takes is for one of the birds to start calling and the rest join in with their alarm calls. The racket is unbelievable. To top it off, throw in the nesting magpies.

Now time for my hijack; how tame will peacocks get? Are you able to handle them if you start young?

I was volunteered to build an aviary by my boss, a taxidermist, and I know nothing about birds. Can you recommend any sites or books since you seem quite experienced in the bird world? (I plan on sneaking in a couple of Vulturine Guinea Fowl (http://feathersite.com//Poultry/Guineas/BRKAcryllium.html) for my own enjoyment. I love those guys!)

Zabali_Clawbane
05-11-2004, 06:07 PM
For those Dopers who are curious to know what a peacock sounds like here (http://junglewalk.com/frames.asp) is a link with sound files. (Hmm, it won't link directly to the Peacock page, so you'll have 2 clicks to get there.) Also, here's a link to a page for peafowl supplies (http://peafowl.com/Supplies.html) which came up while I was searching for peacock sounds. It's got a newsletter link on it, thought you might find it interesting.

Oregon sunshine
05-12-2004, 01:33 PM
Gulo gulo, in answer to your peacock questions, apparently they can be tamed from hatching. The guy that Pooper came from said that the birds he had walked up and ate from his hand. Pooper doesn't trust us that much but he does walk along less than 3 feet away from you.

As far as aviary building, that sounds like fun! I can't recommend any sites or books since our bird farm is run on the "seat of your pants" method. I grew up on a farm where we raised chickens, sheep, and pigs. Our knowledge comes from that, from my s.o.'s country family roots, and from the brochures on each type of bird that we got from the hatchery down the road. Sorry!

I think a shed type frame totally lined with chicken wire (floor included) would make an excellent aviary, unless your boss is looking for something a little fancier. Our pheasants are in a large, modified dog kennel (or run) with chain-link fence wired to the top as a roof so they can't fly away. That's as aviary as we get! :) Sorry for the ignorance... at any rate, convince him to get some canaries in there! Their song is absolutely beautiful, and I hate to see the little guys stuck in cramped quarters, as many people do with the poor li'l things.

Hmmm....that chicken wire barn idea sounds like fun... maybe we'll have a low-rent aviary by next year! :)

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