A peacock’s life

If you want to see an animal who has life by the tail, consider the peacock.

I did Saturday afternoon as I strolled through the Milwaukee County Zoo, and, though I kept telling myself I should should be paying attention to the animals I’d paid to see — lions and tigers and bears — I could not take my eyes off the peacock.

Mostly, because he was everywhere — preening in the midst of eight peahens as we made our way into the aviary house, strutting down paths otherwise reserved for human traffic, perched on the wall of the lion’s den, making himself at home in the Wisconsin dairy exhibit and taunting the tigers into an intimidating roar.

I admired his baffling swagger. Peacocks have no means of defense at all, really. A Hollywood purse puppy could take one down. Yet, they saunter through life as if “God Save the King” were their walk out song, tiny head held high and ridiculous tail feathers dragging along like a silk train.

I locked eyes at one point and he nodded graciously. “Welcome to my zoo,” the nod said. “I know my boys will treat you right.”

Where does one get such chutzpah?

I’ve no need of his accoutrements, but just one day I’d like to strut through life like a peacock and watch all of the zoo animals fall in line.

It’s a gorgeous tail and all, but would you want to walk around with that thing?
I caught this tiger down dogging on a sunny Saturday afternoon, truly an admirable stretch.
And I loved this cheetah’s piercing glare.
But, on that particular Saturday afternoon, this peacock ruled the day.
Here he is checking the activity in the tiger’s den.
Sunning his tail on the rock wall of the black rhino enclosure.
Relaxing in the Wisconsin Dairy exhibit.
And posing to make sure I caught his good side.
Why did the peacock cross the road?
Because he could and…
To get to the popcorn.

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