When Flannery O'Connor returned to Andalusia in 1951, the farm proved to be an ideal location for one of her favorite hobbies going back to her childhood -- raising domestic birds. Eventually, O'Connor would populate Andalusia with several species of chickens along with ducks, geese, swans, pheasants, and peafowl. Ultimately, it would be the peafowl that perhaps fascinated O'Connor most, and she demonstrated her interest in and knowledge of these birds in her essay "King of the Birds" included in her 1969 posthumous collection of prose, Mystery and Manners, edited by Robert and Sally Fitzgerald. For the record, the term "peafowl" refers to the species of the Pavo genus of pheasants. Only males, with the very beautiful tail feathers, are called peacocks; the females are called peahens. In other words, technically there is no such thing as a female peacock.
Flannery O'Connor had anywhere from forty to fifty peafowl at Andalusia; however, none of her original flock survives today. Regina Cline O'Connor gave two pair of peafowl to Stone Mountain Mansion, one pair to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta, and another pair to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit near Conyers, Georgia. Thanks to the generosity of benefactors at another Georgia historic site with peafowl in its past and also to another breeder in Milledgeville, Andalusia now has three of these magnificent birds, which arrived in August, 2009. The Foundation is very grateful to one of its most generous Friends for a major gift designated for constructing the aviary to house the peafowl and to protect them from predators. The peafowl aviary is located under the trees near the north corner of the main house. The birds are provided with shelter from the elements and are fed a balanced diet of wild game bird feed along with occasional treats of cracked corn, spinach, lettuce, grapes, and seed collections. The peacock, Manley Pointer, loses his tail feathers in late July/early August, but then they begin to come back just before Christmas until he reaches full plumage near Easter. The birds are relatively quiet through the fall and early winter. The male and females begin honking in the spring, but during late spring and early summer, the peacock offers the characteristic "screaming" call that can be heard all around the farm complex. The females also honk when they are nesting in spring and summer.
A short video of our peacock, Manley Pointer, showing off for the peahens (3-22-12)