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Why one Manitoba community has peacocks roaming the streets

The peacocks in Souris. (Source: Kim de Koning) The peacocks in Souris. (Source: Kim de Koning)
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When visiting the Manitoba community of Souris, you will come across many expected sights, including museums, parks, shops and friendly people. However, there’s also one thing you may find that you aren’t expecting to see – a group of peacocks.

The history of these birds in Souris goes back 40 years to 1984, when a pair of peacocks -one male and one female -- was donated to the Victoria Park bird sanctuary.

“[They were donated because] they are a beautiful bird and a real attraction to the town,” said Jim Ludlam, who takes care of the peacocks, in an interview on Thursday.

“It did happen that way. A lot of tourists come to see them.”

Some of the peacocks in Souris. (Source: Kim de Koning)

Now, four decades later, there are 15 peacocks in Souris – five in Victoria Park, five in the west side of the community and five across the river.

Ludlam said over the years the town has had its ups and downs with the birds, adding they’ve heard complaints about the peacocks getting into gardens.

“We had a predator problem. A few years back, we had vandalism,” he said.

“We do get complaints about them. Let’s put it this way – people like them and people don’t like them.”

As for whether the peacocks have been an effective tourist attraction, Ludlam says they’ve been helpful. He added that Souris also has a lot of other things to offer, including a campground, museums and a golf course.

“I just hope when the tourists come to town this year, they find some peacocks and take pictures,” he said.

As for the future of the peacocks, Ludlam says he hopes that Souris will continue to be home to these colourful birds.

“I feel they’re a beautiful bird, when they’ve got those long tails,” he said.

“I’ve had two on my deck here off and on for the last month…the tails are just beautiful.”

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