Flamboyant fowl fascinate
The Ladies of West Linn are easy to spot.
They almost always travel in a group of three, their tall feathered caps bobbing along with each elongated step. Telling them apart is difficult, given their identical coats of gray, white, black and — most striking — a deep shade of emerald green covering the chest and neck area, but they seem to relish the anonymity as they bounce shamelessly from porch to porch, yard to yard.
Occasionally, one of the Ladies will wander off, prompting anxious calls from the others that echo through the streets.
It's been a busy summer for these curious peahens — call them peacocks at your own peril — and West Linn community members have taken notice. In late June, a resident created a Facebook group to document sightings of the nomadic birds. Since then, the group has grown to include more than 200 members, some of whom have taken to calling the female peafowls "the Ladies of West Linn."
Recently, the Ladies took a liking to Inge Barbee's home near Salamo Road.
"(At night) I noticed they were wandering around the driveway and poking around," Barbee said. "(The next morning) I heard this really loud sound ... it sounded like a cat in distress. I went out and they were just meandering on the patio, and my kitties were enthralled with these really large birds. I sat there and just kind of watched them."
Two of the Ladies returned the next morning, this time being caught on the security camera that's posted above Barbee's front door.
"They don't spook easily," Barbee said. "They seem relatively friendly and interested in humans. They definitely were giving my kitties the eye through the slide door. My cat stood on his back legs and was really checking them out."
Barbee said the peahens had been spotted in other parts of her neighborhood on the hill for several weeks before they showed up at her door. On July 11, they spent the morning at City Council President Brenda Perry's house before moving on to resident Nixie Krusee's front porch.
"It was quite a shock, and they made themselves at home," Perry said. "They were not bothered if you went out there and walked. They were here most of the day, drinking water out of the bird bath and having a go at the seeds.
"My cat is still recovering," she added.
Perry was concerned the next morning when only one of the Ladies showed up.
"One came back and was calling for the other two, and I don't know if they were reunited," she said.
Perry posted about the missing birds in the Facebook group, prompting anxious responses about the dangers of crossing busy streets like Salamo Road — which the Ladies have been known to do.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief the next morning, when Doris Huttula reported to the Facebook group that all three birds were eating out of the bird feeder on her front porch.
The origins of the birds are unclear. West Linn Parks and Recreation Director Ken Worcester said he didn't know much about the peahens, other than that they aren't native to the area and had been spotted at many city parks including Mary S. Young and Willamette. Feral peafowl are not unknown in this area. A small flock regularly appear in the Lake Oswego police blotter, from callers either annoyed by their imperious behavior or concerned about the birds' well-being.
"It's kind of a fun, novel thing that's happened in the neighborhood," Barbee said.
Check out the Facebook group by clicking here.