Bronx Zoo peacock: Escaped bird back home

BRONX, New York (WABC) — “Raul” the escaped peacock made his way back to the Bronx Zoo after spending Thursday morning roosting in a tree in the Bronx.

The wayward bird had been perched in the tree since before 8 p.m. Wednesday night, after flying off zoo grounds and pecking at one man’s leg who tried to shoo it to safety.

A crowd of people gathered around the bird once he settled on E. 180th Street and Vyse Avenue.

Despite all efforts from the NYPD and FDNY to safely capture the beautiful bird, he appeared to make it quite clear he wanted to stay perched up high. After all, trying to capture a bird with feathers five feet long likely isn’t something first responders are accustomed to doing.

WATCH | “Raul” spends Thursday morning evading first responders in a tree:

His name was actually given to him by members of the community who were very surprised to see a peacock in a nearby tree.

The Bronx Zoo’s nearly 100 peafowls roam freely on its grounds, as they have since 1926, and have been known to stray occasionally. One similarly flew away in 2011.

“Raul” didn’t only escape, he also committed a bit of a crime. “Raul” allegedly pecked at a man Wednesday night as the man was trying to help it.

“He tried to trap it off of somebody’s parking lot in someone’s parking garage up the block,” eyewitness Chris Gutter said. “Raul wasn’t having it, Raul flew over the parking lot gate, started coming down here, he started to chase him over here, and I guess he got too close to Raul, Raul took a peck at him, he flew up in this tree first on this side and got tangled up and flew from here to over there and Raul has been over here for the past three hours now.”

The FDNY confirmed that the peacock did attack a nearby bystander who suffered a minor injury.

“Peafowl are not dangerous. The Bronx Zoo has free roaming peafowl on its grounds which move through the park with guests on a daily basis,” the zoo said in a statement. “Like many other animals, peafowl rely on a flight response when they feel threatened. But like any animal, when cornered, they may react and peck to protect themselves. This is why we are asking people to give the animal space.”

Raul isn’t New York City’s only avian escapee. Flaco, a Eurasian eagle owl, broke free from the Central Park Zoo in February and managed to elude his rescuers time and time again. To many experts’ surprise, Flaco became comfortable outside of captivity and started hunting for his own prey.

And it was back in 2019 when 7 On Your Side stepped in to help a wayward peahen that was ruffling feathers in a Long Island neighborhood.

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