Best of Phoenix 2014: Legend City / Crying Peafowl

They perch on rooftops, displaying massive plumage and looking for all the world like colossal weather vanes. They strut up and down sidewalks, taking treats from the outstretched hands of neighborhood kids. And during the summer months, the males scream bloody murder from atop telephone poles, bellowing for peacock tail well into the night and long before the sun rises each morning.

Some say the peacocks have always lived in Coronado, one of Phoenix's oldest neighborhoods, bordered by Thomas Road and I-10, and Seventh and 20th streets. The story is that a pair of the birds were abandoned by a woman who lived in Coronado in the early 1990s. Neighbors began feeding the pretty fowl and, before you could say, "shake a tail feather!" there were dozens of them.

Rumors have been flying around the neighborhood that some Coronado residents are breeding the noisy poop-makers, because they think peacocks make the neighborhood "more interesting." But there's another story that goes like this: One of our better-known historic districts is curb-deep in peafowl because one guy found out that a neighbor he despised happened to hate peacocks. This bitter fellow then, according to Coronado lore, smuggled in a pair of especially amorous peahens and one especially randy male, caged them in his backyard and, after they began laying pea-eggs, released them to terrorize his nemesis.

It sounds implausible and more than a little silly. But then so does the very notion of peacocks living in a downtown neighborhood. You decide.

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