North Boulder’s free-range, ‘wild’ peacocks

The 8 wild birds range the neighborhood each day and return to their home tree each evening

By Tatyana Sharpton Aug 19 2020

The urban-farmland nexus of far North Boulder, where many homes sit on large grassy lots and the area’s farming past (and in some places present) feels oh so close, plays host to a band of eight “wild” peacocks, who roam miles across the neighborhood.

A flurry of Nextdoor posts tracked the birds’ far-flung neighborhood adventures in mid-July. A few of the peacock brood strut in front of China Gourmet in the North Boulder shopping center near Quince and Broadway.

The brood of six males and two females, in various combinations, pop up at the area’s shopping center near Quince and Broadway, a mile east along 26th Street and farther north closer to their home, a 67-year-old ranch house — more specifically, in the trees to the left of it — though they originally came from Tamarack Street, a couple blocks west where an older man used to raise them.

Dhasa Bishop, a member of the household who protects them, couldn’t for certain tell us when it began.

“Could’ve been the 70’s, 80’s, or even 90’s,” she tells BLDRfly, from her front yard one afternoon this week. “It was so laid back at the time; nothing was really a thing.”

All we know for sure is that “Boulder was still funky and that after the original owner died circa 2005, they took to the trees,” she says.

While technically the peacocks do not belong to anyone, living completely free and foraging wild seed, the Bishops keep an eye on them, acting as their guardians.

Dhasa Bishop

While they mostly stay in the trees, their roaming radius spans about a mile, and, as they don’t do well in the heat, they tend to wander off and find cooler places to rest around midday. In the mornings and evenings, they tend to strut in Upland street, the yards and homes of Dhasa’s neighbors, wandering the streets or hanging out by several of the ‘hood’s chicken coops.

Peacock headshots. Images: Dhasa Bishop.

Surprisingly, they even manage to get through Boulder’s cold Colorado winters up in the trees!

Don’t call animal control

Dhasa in front of the trees where NoBo’s peacocks live. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.

While most long-term Boulderites know of the neighborhood birds and enjoy their presence, some don’t feel quite as amorous. The birds can have a very loud call in the spring, and as wild birds, many simply don’t know what to do with them.

“We’ll get calls like, ‘they’re out front of Lucky’s’,” says Dhasa, “or the coffee shop.” Others find them wandering around the streets or on front porches.

Playing peacock guardian comes with its own line of tourism, in a sense. The Bishops routinely have people out front of their home looking for the birds and taking photos, sometimes banging on their door to give notice of a peacock gone astray. Dhasa laughs it off in good spirit, saying that usually she doesn’t mind the visitors (luckily for us!)

The peacocks roosting in their North Boulder home tree. Photo: Dhasa Bishop.

At one point, animal control came and rounded several of them, early on, and the wild birds also do get hit by cars occasionally. Dhasa told BLDRfly that the oldest one — who gave off the biggest feathers — got hit by on busy 19th Street, and now just the juvenile ones remain. Animal control never told the Bishops what happened to the rounded-up birds.

“My advice to anyone on Nextdoor: don’t call animal control,” says Dhasa.

Where wild peacocks roam — a shot of two of the brood near their home. Image: Paul Hagey.

Header image: Peacock headshot taken by Dhasa Bishop.