- Associated Press - Saturday, May 7, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A New Orleans City Council member says she wants to have a neighborhood added to the list of the city’s bird sanctuaries to protect a popular peacock.

Nobody knows where “Mr. P” the peacock came from. The Audubon Zoo says its peacocks are all accounted for.

Some in New Orleans’ West Carrollton area have complained about the bird’s presence: Mr. P has been spotted pecking at the finish on cars.

But others like having the bird around.

Council member Susan Guidry introduced an ordinance Thursday that would the area where Mr. P is frequently seen the city’s 15th bird sanctuary. That would make it illegal to harm the peacock.

“For the last 10 years, West Carrollton has had a few very unique residents - peacocks - in addition to an established group of parrots,” Guidry said in a statement to Nola.comThe Times-Picayune (https://bit.ly/1XcNGKS). “While they are beloved by most of the community, residents and community groups recently approached my office with concerns that the peacocks might be removed.”

Carolyn Atherton, curator of birds at the Audubon Zoo, told The New Orleans Advocate that when the peacock was pecking at cars, he was probably pecking at his own reflection, thinking he was facing off with a romantic rival (https://bit.ly/1XcNADg).

Mr. P has eluded animal control officers from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, flying to a rooftop. But the close call triggered an outcry from neighbors, begging the SPCA to let the bird be. Other bird lovers went straight to Guidry.

Officials with the SPCA, which handles animal control for the city, eventually decided not to pursue the peacock.

“It is not in our contract to handle wildlife,” said Alicia Haeferle, a spokeswoman for the SPCA. “Our contract is companion animals only.”

For now, neighbors in West Carrollton who want to see Mr. P continue to strut his stuff have placed street-side mirrors, hoping he will attack them instead of nearby cars.

“The peacock and the parrots are some of the things that make our neighborhood unique and kind of quirky,” area resident Drew Ward said. “We need to respect and appreciate our natural neighbors as well as our human ones.”

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