The Return of the Mary Todd of Old

31 Aug

I have already shared the story of the LMU-Duncan School of Law’s beloved peahen, Mary Todd. Recently, there has been much concern surrounding Mary Todd and her well being, so earlier this week when I saw her perched on the roof of her purple house I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

 

The corner where Mary Todd made a nest for her eggs.

Midway through July, the gentle bird that had spent the past three years splitting time between her comfy house, an adjacent courtyard and LMU-DSOL’s roof began to display some uncharacteristic behaviors. She holed up in one area and stayed put. Later she started reacting unpredictably when people approached her, even the students who had been responsible for leaving food for her.

Finally, staff found two eggs that she had laid. Soon after they were first spotted, Mary Todd began nesting. For over a month and a half she sat on the eggs and fiercely defended them. I once witnessed her swooping after a squirrel that I’m sure didn’t realize she was there until she attacked.

Since Mary Todd is a feral bird, we could not be certain the eggs were in fact fertilized. She could have found another feral peacock while away from LMU-DSOL ground and it is also not unusual for peahens to lay unfertilized eggs. After contacting officials with LMU’s Veterinary Technology department and UT’s Veterinary School, it was determined that the eggs had been around longer than a natural incubation period. Following that advice, the eggs were retrieved and just like that we had our Mary Todd back. The UT folks said that had the eggs remained, Mary Todd ran the risk of starvation, since she was not leaving the nest for nourishment.   

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