up at the former hospital in Standish, watch a vet catch three peacocks
and return to BBC Gloucestershire - an easy day, I thought. How
wrong I was!
hospital in Standish, which closed towards the end of December 2004,
is home to three peacocks who need to be moved to their new home
at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire.
hospital itself is set in 32 acres of ground with many trees, shrubs
and flower beds - easy terrain for the birds to hide themselves
in, and hide they did.
Dean, who's one of the last members of staff to be transferred from
Standish, took me to find them. All we needed now was a peacock...
something which was already proving a very difficult task indeed.
do know that something's going on. It was exactly the same last
time when we tried to catch them. They just seem to know. I don't
know why - animals are very good like that aren't they?"
there were seven peacocks but four have already been transferred
to Prinknash where there's a healthy population already. Wendolyn
believes it's a real shame that they have to leave Standish but
it's a necessary move for the birds' welfare, she says:
peacocks could've stayed if we'd had a decision on what was going
to happen with the site.
as the site is now going to be vacant for we don't know how long,
we obviously can't keep the birds here."
of the patients
peacocks were first brought to Standish in the 1970s by the hospital's
League of Friends. For years they've been favourites of the patients,
who used to buy food for them from the hospital trolleys.
for us the Standish peacocks were still proving to be extremely
difficult to track down.
after using walkie-talkies to locate the three peacocks, specialist
bird vet Neil Forbes was brought in to help capture them. It turns
out that peacocks are a bit of a law unto themselves as far as Neil
is concerned. He explained:
are a notorious problem. We get calls from all around the country
on a regular basis because they make an awful lot of noise - they
tend to get on roofs early in the morning and make a lot of noise,
often disturbing the neighbours.
also tend to roam freely from wherever they're living and they're
not easy to control. They won't come inside for food so you can't
medicate their food - you basically have to train them to take some
sort of titbit that has been laced with sedative so that you can
get hold of them."
with the vet on hand, the birds still proved difficult to catch.
Every time the vet got within ten metres of one of the birds, they
scarpered. It was obviously time for plan B and the vet stepped
forward with his secret weapon - raisins laced with sedative.
when it looked like hope of capturing the birds was fading, one
of the peacocks fell for the bait and was caught. And after a minor
operation to clip the feathers on one wing of the bird - so he couldn't
return to Standish from his new home at Prinknash - it was into
the van with him.
on the loose...
after another two hours only the one male peacock had been caught
and even the vet reckoned the birds knew what was going on. He said:
there's a lot change and a lot of noise they're not feeling confident
in their surroundings and, hence, they're a lot more flighty. Unless
we can get close to them it becomes very difficult [to capture them]."
I left, the vet was still busy trying to capture the two remaining
birds. It seems they're determined to remain at Standish but for
how long is anyone's guess, given the elusive nature of these particular
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