It’s warm now but winter will be making its inevitable appearance in the not-to-distant future. Souris’ popular peacocks will be looking for shelter, food and water to get them through the coldest months of the year.
Clients at the Souris Day Care Centre love the peacocks and they wanted to do their part to help look after the town ambassadors. The Centre held a lemonade and bake sale, selling Rice Krispie cookies and homemade granola bars as well as lemonade. They raised $207.75 at the sale and have donated the entire amount to the fund to feed the peacocks.
“We asked them where they wanted the money to go and they said to feed the peacocks,” explained Jim Ludlam when he received the donation from the Day Care. “This will allow us to feed the birds all winter.”
Although Ludlam denies it, he is the driving force behind the peacock project. “I see it as more of a community project,” he stated. “There’s lots of people out there that keep an eye on them. We all work together.” Ludlam also said that Randy Janz was a big help with the peacocks before he passed on and now Murray Bradshaw has taken an interest in the bird’s well being.
There were twenty-two peacocks released in the spring of 2019. Over the summer dogs killed two peacocks, and a car hit one. A juvenile peacock was a killed by the same vehicle. “They’ve done pretty well this year,” remarked Ludlam. “Despite the dogs and vehicle accident, I think there’s at least twenty-five peacocks out there roaming around.”
The peacocks have free range throughout Souris and usually need a little coaxing to come in once the cold weather comes. Ludlam explained that he leaves out a large live trap that community members help him monitor. Once there’s a peacock inside, it’s transported to the barn for winter.
The heated barn is located in Victoria Park and that’s where they spend the entire winter. The peacock round will begin the first and second week of November. They are captured and put into the barn where Ludlam says the real work begins. “The birds need to be fed and watered every day,” he explained. “It’s not a hard job but it is time consuming. Someone has to be there.”
With the recent donation, Ludlam says they won’t have a problem supplying feed this winter. In fact it’s relatively cheap to secure feed. That feed includes about three bags of sunflower seeds for which he pays $40.00 a bag; old bread from the Minary’s Bakery and that price varies on the amount he buys each year; and Viiterra Grain elevator donates screenings. All of this makes it possible to keep the birds healthy and fed all winter.
The peacocks have become a labour of love for everyone involved in their care. There are often offers for donations and Ludlam says those can be made at the Municipality of Souris office, earmarked “Peacocks.”