The free roaming peacocks who found their paradise in Dunfermline

When Henry Beveridge brought the first peacocks to Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline from India, paradise was on his mind.

As a member of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, which philanthropist Andrew Carnegie set up to enrich the lives of the residents of his place of his birth, he had been encouraged to “experiment, to be pioneers, to not be afraid of making mistakes” as the vision for the town was drawn up.

Beveridge believed Dunfermline could become an arcadia of nature and learning, with arts and sciences coming together at Pittencrieff Park, which Carnegie gifted to the town in 1902.

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Of the park, Beveridge wrote: “And here too is paradise when the citizens of Dunfermline of every age and every class may wander at large and with an open heart….and drink in all the restfulness of time content. And a park without animals is no paradise.”

The peacocks in Pittencrieff Park, Dunfermline. Peacocks have had the freedom of the town since 1907. PIC: John Devlin.

Beveridge brought the first peacocks from India, where he had strong family links. Two years later, they were granted ‘Freedom of the City” with the peacocks seen roaming around the streets and making homes in gardens close to the park.

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Just this week, four of the roaming birds stopped traffic in Bridge Street and there have been recent sightings at The Glen pub.

Joe Gilmartin, chair of Peacocks in Pittencrieff Park, now has a little family of the birds living in his garden after mum, Caroline, wandered in.

There are 23 peacocks in the town and are spotted wandering freely through the streets. PIC: John Devlin.

"Caroline, left the park about two years ago and she just arrived on the street. She pretty much made here home in her garden. She spends around 80 per cent of her time here. I think she feels quite comfortable and safe here.

“She will give you a bit of a wide berth but sometimes she takes some food out of your hand. Her favourite is cherry cake.”

When it was time for Caroline to lay her eggs, the whole street was waiting for news.

Dunfermline is now home to 23 peacocks with Indian Blues, Indian Whites and Indian Blue Black Shoulders now under the care of the Peacocks of Pittencrieff Park. An aviary in the park gives them shelter, but the town is their true home.

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