Posted by: groundsforsculpture | July 10, 2011

Newest Members of the Muster at Grounds For Sculpture!

By Elizabeth Berkowitz, Coordinator of Volunteer Services

Photo by E. Berkowitz.

On this last day of Spring I ventured out to look for the newest members of our Grounds For Sculpture family.  This season, we welcomed four babies to the muster of peafowl living here at GFS.  (Yes, a grouping of peafowl is called a “muster” or an “ostentation.”)

The new mothers are very protective of the babies.  One of the chicks is newly hatched, while the others have about a ten-day head start and are already quite a bit bigger.

Peahens will usually find a secluded spot for their nests but, as we have seen here at Grounds For Sculpture, some are bold enough to start nesting on the area between the main entrance booth and the Seward Johnson Center for the Arts!  Hens lay an average of 4 to 6 eggs, but the number could be as high as ten.  Before settling on a spot and actually nesting, decoy eggs may be laid to throw off predators.  Most peahens begin laying eggs when they are two to three years old.  Once eggs are laid, the peahen will incubate for about a month leaving the nest only once a day for food and ‘personal’ matters.

When the chicks hatch, the work begins; mother teaches her chicks how to hunt for food as well as how to eat bugs, flowers and, here at GFS, supplemental cat food for protein.  She will also show them how to fly up onto a low branch for safety at night.  Flying starts within the first 48 hours of life.  If you see some chicks, look at the size of their wings; I was surprised to see how well they can fly.

Photo by E. Berkowitz.

While I was out taking pictures today, one of the chicks became separated from the mother.   She ‘clicked’ at me and used the same sound to call her chick.  He flew the six feet to her and landed safely at her feet.

I’ve always been fascinated by the peacocks and peahens.  During my first spring here at the Grounds, I was watching a mother with her babies walking in front of the Motor Exhibits Building when one of the tiny chicks fell over onto its side.  I was horrified, thinking the worst; I looked around for help and wondered how to take care of this little one’s sudden demise.  About 30 seconds later it popped up and ran to catch up with its family!  Someone told me that sometimes they just need to nap!  Whew!
When you come to the Grounds For Sculpture and wander out and about, listen for a clicking – , you might just come upon a peahen and her chicks!

Photo by E. Berkowitz.



  1. Thanks for this info. I too love watching the peacocks. But I think that mothers with little kids should be warned about the dangers of allowing their children to approach hens with chicks.

    Whenever I see this happening, I intervene and tell the mothers the story of how one hen beat up on a red-taied hawk that had grabbed one of her chicks. I also point out the claws and spurs and their sharp beaks. They are suitably impressed and grab their kids.

    Flo Deems, member

  2. Terrific, charming, well done….


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