Limping peacocks rescued, treated

Cutler Bay residents unsure how birds were injured

By Jacey Birch - Anchor/Animal Advocate

CUTLER BAY, Fla. - The peaceful community of Cutler Bay has plenty of wildlife, especially the popular peacocks known to roam the area. But recently, many of the birds have been injured.

Resident Beryl Jeune called Local 10 for help after growing concerned about one of the peacocks, which she affectionately calls her "children."

"Because I've lived here so long, they are a part of my life," said Jeune.

Jeune has lived in the Pinewood Villas area in Cutler Bay for over a decade. She's grown accustomed to seeing the birds in her back yard, her favorite part of her home.

"Oh, if they were not here, forget it. I'd be empty," said Jeune.

The resident said she knew she had to do something when she saw the injured birds walking with limps.

Lillian Brown told Local 10's Jacey Birch she was concerned about one bird in particular.

"He's definitely in need of rescuing, and I know you rescue animals, so I'm glad you're here," said Brown.

Local 10 called the South Florida Wildlife Center for help. Wildlife rescuer Robbie Ruderman drove to Cutler Bay in an animal ambulance to assess the bird's health. He quickly caught the first peacock in a large net and held it in his lap for an examination.

"This leg is pretty swollen around the joint. He's definitely having trouble walking on this leg," said Ruderman.

Brown estimated the male peacock, nicknamed Elvis, has been in pain for several months.

"He's crippled. He's been crippled a long time, maybe at least over a year," said Brown.

Ruderman put the peacock safely in a cage inside the ambulance before looking for the next injured bird. Even when injured, peacocks are fast and can fly.

"They have a very strong will to live. They will keep going, with injuries, with sickness, until they can't go anymore," he said.

After chasing a bird with a limp, Ruderman was able to catch it and then examined him.

The second bird also suffered from a swollen leg. No one seems to know what is causing the limp limbs. The birds may have gotten caught in thick brush, been hurt hunting, or been hit by a car.

"It's hard to say. We don't know how it happened, but we're definitely going to do our best to fix him," said Ruderman.

In total, Ruderman rescued three peacocks, which were taken to South Florida Wildlife Center Hospital in Broward County, where they'll be treated and rehabilitated. Once they're healthy and ready to return to the wild, they will be brought back to their home in Cutler Bay.

"It's made me so happy. It's made my day, knowing that these birds are going to get helped," Jeune said through tears.

Anyone who sees injured animals in the wild is urged to contact the South Florida Wildlife Center at 1-866-SOS-WILD.

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