First things first: To anyone I know in northern Ohio who might see this and say, "Heeeey, I thought we were friends, why didn't you tell me you were coming?"
It's not my fault. Thanks to having a large family concentrated in Indiana and Ohio, I sometimes come in and out and just see family. If it means anything at all, there I times I visit these states and never see family because I have so much work to do. It's not you, it's me and my inability to manage my time better.
While visiting Mansfield, Ohio to catch up with family members, I found myself with a little bit of free time. One of my New Year's resolutions is to use eBird regularly and part of my strategy when I travel and I have no particular birding agenda is to do bird a "Hotspot" that hasn't had an entry in awhile...apparently NO ONE is eBirding in Mansfield, Ohio so I just picked Gorman Nature Center as Non Birding Bill could come with me and hike trails (for exercise) easily while I could lolly gag and take pictures.
I noticed a small flock of tiny brown birds on the ground and I was pleased to realize that they were golden-crowned kinglets, fun birds to see any time of year. Here's a really craptastic picture I digiscoped with my iPhone and spotting scope.
But that was not the highlight of the trip. It was a bird in the pine tree in this photo right outside the nature center building. Do you see it? Look at the trunk of the pine tree. Now go about halfway up from the ground and look to the left. See it? There's a thick vertical shape at about nine 0'clock. I first saw it and thought, "That must be a branch...man, that's long, almost like golden eagle long...no...horned guan long...that must be a branch...holy crap, it's moving!"
So I got in my binoculars and laughed. Then got it in my scope.
I looked at those hella big feet--certainly not golden eagle feet...but they do kind resemble horned guan feet. I knew what it was and it was certainly not what I thought I would find while out birding on a winter day in Ohio. The large bird did an excellent job of hiding itself in the pine tree but I managed to get a shot of its face:
It took some jockeying around to get in a good position, but I finally did and got the bird's face. It was a male peacock! You can even see some snow resting on its back. I know there are peacocks that reside at the Kingwood Center about four to five miles north, but seeing one here was a surprise. I tried to google around to see what the story was for this bird, but all I couldn't find much information. I suppose it's not out of the realm of possibility that a peacock from Kingwood wandered away and found itself at Gorman. It was a smart bird, roosting near the bird feeders.
UPDATE: I got a message from Jason Larson - Richland County Park District Director of Operations and he says the peacock is not from Kingwood Center.
"He does not belong to Kingwood, nor have any local collectors claimed him. The Ohio Bird Sanctuary and other local rehabilitators only administer aid to native wildlife and we have no facilities to house the bird here, nor do we want to, as our mission pertains to native wildlife in Richland County and Ohio. We have attempted to find him a home, but unfortunately, he is still "homeless" at the present time."
Anybody in Ohio want to adopt a peacock?