TERRA CEIA (FOX 13) - Peacocks have made their home in areas on Longboat Key and parts of St. Petersburg, but now they're popping up in random areas around Manatee County.
Locals think the birds are being dumped by someone, but wildlife experts say that's a no-no.
In more than a decade of living on Terra Ceia, Eric Lofgren gets a first hand view of many wild animals.
"Everything that we've seen, some things have been rare, but they've all been things that belong here," he said.
Last weekend, he spotted something colorful on his front porch.
"As I reached for the door, it has a glass panel, I looked through it. There not a foot away from the door looking in was a peacock," he recalled. "It seemed settled in. In fact it looked like it wanted to come in."
That's something he and neighbors have never seen before. Eric called officers and animal control asking if anyone had lost a pet peacock. Their response: no.
"However it got here, it looks like it's simply not a lost pet," he said.
Then he called Wildlife Inc. on Bradenton Beach and found out he wasn't alone in reporting the exotic bird sightings.
"We thought that someone was relocating them. It's too much of a coincidence for them to be flying," Wildlife Inc.'s Ed Straight said.
Straight said peacocks have been spotted on State Road 64 near Rye Road and in Palmetto. If someone is catching the peacocks and re-releasing them that's a problem. It's illegal, and also inhumane.
"It's very unfair for them. If they're in an area that they are used to being protected and fed, and to put them out in the woods area they are very susceptible to all types of predators," Straight said.
For now, Terra Ceia has a new guest. Residents say as long as it behaves the peacock is welcome.
"It's just sort of made it's home here on the island. Here and there, we have some wild spots. Hopefully it will find a spot in one of those places," said Eric.