Escaped Peacock Returns to Bronx Zoo After a Night on the Loose

A peacock that escaped from the Bronx Zoo and spent the night roosting in a nearby tree, drawing a crowd of television crews and curious spectators, has flown back to its home.

The bird — who neighbors nicknamed Raul — spent most of Wednesday night and Thursday morning perched high up in a cottonwood tree in Vidalia Park near East 180th Street and Vyse Avenue, about two blocks from the zoo, its every head bob captured on television and social media livestreams.

It barely moved until just after 10:40 a.m., when it flapped its wings and glided from the cottonwood to another tree, in a nearby church cemetery on 180th Street. The crowd issued a collective gasp.

That was the start of a harrowing 35-minute journey that took the bird to two more trees and several roofs and ended with its safe return to the zoo.

Onlookers watched as the bird strutted from the roof of one building on 181st Street to another, nimbly hopping over a small gap between the structures. It continued to move from roof to roof, making its way toward the zoo.

Then, at 11:17 a.m., the crowd stood in silence as the peacock perched on the corner of a roof and craned its neck, the crest on the crown of its head quivering.

A moment later, it spread its wings and soared across the street and over the zoo fence.

“Oh my god!” a few people cried out before the group erupted in whoops and applause.

Starr Davila, 27, who lives in the neighborhood, began livestreaming the peacock on TikTok at 7:30 a.m., with about 250 people tuning in at times from as far away as California, Texas and Illinois.

“He’s a celebrity now,” said Ms. Davila. “He’s gotta get celebrity treatment.”

It was unclear when the bird first escaped from the Bronx Zoo, where peafowl freely roam the zoo grounds. Residents spotted it at East 180th Street and Tremont Avenue around 7:45 p.m. on Wednesday, according to a notification from the Citizen app, which sends users location-based alerts.

Soon after, reports circulated online that the bird had bitten a man nearby. A spokesman from the New York Fire Department said emergency service workers treated a person at East 180th Street and Vyse Avenue for minor injuries around 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday, but he did not confirm whether the wounds were from a bird bite.

At some point after making its escape, the bird flew into the cottonwood tree. By around 4:30 a.m., news crews had gathered, and the livestreams began. The police blocked off the area between 179th and 180th Streets along Vyse Avenue shortly after.

Max Pulsinelli, a spokesman for the zoo, confirmed in a statement that the bird had returned.

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