Henry the peacock starts new chapter of his life in Escombe
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Durban - Henry the peacock who was feared missing has apparently relocated and is now on friendly terms with residents in a quiet corner of Escombe, Queensburgh.
He fancies one house in particular in the neighbourhood to spread his wings, and go into flight mode at times.
That’s because the owners of the house, Pieter and Annette Gouws, are nature lovers who always ensure there’s an abundance of food available for him and other animals that frequent their garden.
As a show of appreciation, Henry speaks to Pieter and when he’s feeling really cheerful, the bird even dances for him.
“He’s free-spirited here,” Annette said about Henry.
But on October 26, Henry was not as happy as a lark.
On that day, he was bird-napped from a property in the nearby Northdene area, where Henry lived with a family for a few years and also had the freedom of their neighbourhood.
CCTV camera footage showed a robber grabbing Henry as he strutted on the pavement.
He was then bundled into a boot of a red Toyota Etios driven by the robber and his accomplices.
Later that day, security personnel in uMdloti, north of Durban, spotted the passengers of the Etios allegedly attempting to steal another car but drove away when they got noticed.
They were then tracked to uMhlanga and in their attempt to make a getaway, the driver of the Etios lost control and the vehicle came to rest on its roof.
Two of the vehicle’s passengers were arrested on the scene and appeared at the Durban Regional Court, last week, to face a string of theft related charges.
Security officers were surprised when they found Henry stuffed in the boot.
Apart from being ruffled, rattled and minus a few tail-feathers, an animal rescue expert declared the bird was good to go, and Henry was reunited with his Northdene owners on the same day.
After recovering their bird, the owners said they were disappointed when the bird went missing again, which was reported in last week’s edition of the Sunday Tribune.
The Gouws’ immediately alerted this newspaper that Henry was frequenting their neighbourhood on a daily basis.
They were convinced the bird was Henry based on the owner's description, especially since it had a ring of feathers missing around his neck.
“We just want the owners to know he is safe.
“How could someone harm him in that way?
But he seems relaxed and roams freely here.”
Pieter said people step a-side to admire him, take pictures and drivers of vehicles are also mindful of Henry when he’s on the road.
He believes his well stocked bird-feeds positioned in the garden and a backyard loaded with leafy vegetables and cat pellets has made his home Henry’s haven.
“He comes and goes as he pleases since October. Sometimes he’s with us the entire day, on other occasions it's afternoon visits.”
Pieter said he has communicated with many animals in the past by mimicking the sounds they make.
When he talks to Henry, there is usually a whole lot of “tocking” going on.
“He makes three specific sounds. But he usually goes tock, tock, tock… when he wants to talk to me and it means he’s relaxed.”
Some of the other birds that gulp goodies in the Gouws’ gardens are a flock of swallows, a small colony of bats, a pair of storks, an owl and a crested eagle.
But Pieter said now that Henry has his full complement of feathers, his pride has been restored and he rules the roost.
“Some of the locals even believe Henry belongs to us and others are amazed to see him fly.”
Philani Biyela, a lecturer at a Durban university and his wife Lima who lives in Gouws’ neighbourhood were surprised to see Henry flying about.
“The bird visits the complex we live in and we saw it fly from roof to roof.
“We also notice him when we are out on our walks in the neighbourhood
“It is aesthetically very nice to have a bird like this in our area and he seems very friendly,” said Biyela.
Annette conceded that Pieter had a better bond with Henry.
“Maybe it’s because he loves animals more than people,” she quipped.