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Peacock Escapes from Central Park Zoo

By DNAinfo Staff on August 2, 2011 2:33pm  | Updated on August 2, 2011 6:12pm

CENTRAL PARK — A peacock escaped from the Central Park Zoo and was on the loose on the Upper East Side Tuesday afternoon.

The blue bird perched on ritzy 838 Fifth Ave. near East 65th Street, where apartments go for the tens of millions, as a crowd gathered to gawk.

“The peacock poses no danger to anyone,” the zoo said in a statement emailed shortly after 2 p.m. “To ensure a good outcome in this situation, we ask everyone not to follow or harass the bird if they see him.”

“We are hopeful he will either fly back to the zoo or we will retrieve him nearby,” the statement added.

Zoo officials were on hand at the scene to monitor the situation. It was not immediately clear how the peacock escaped the zoo.

"We are working to resolve this situation and ask the public and representatives of the media to refrain from doing anything that would encourage the bird to move before it is ready to do so," zoo director Jeff Sailer said in a statement. "Home is a short flight across the avenue and we think our peacock will make his way across soon. 

"Once the bird is back in the park, we plan to recover him as quickly as possible," Sailer said.

Sailer added in a statement that "the peacock is a large bird that is able to fly extremely well," saying it's not unusual for the birds to "routinely roost high in trees at dusk and stay there until dawn."

Around 7 p.m., the peacock took a load off, sitting down for what appeared to be the first time that day.

Sources said that zoo workers were not trying to forcibly remove the bird for fear of causing it injury.

Roughly 50 people gathered on the Fifth Avenue sidewalk opposite the peacock's perch over the course of the afternoon. Among them were several members of the zoo staff, who stood by, keeping an eye on the bird.

“These kinds of things you don’t see everyday," Alistair Reid, 36, a native Londoner who is spending the year on the Upper East Side remarked. "Only in New York.”

"Somebody should write a book about this, 'Peacock in the Big City'," said Hana Raskin, 21, who lives in the East Village.

One passerby looked up at the bird and yelled, "Don't jump!"

Others posted pictures of the wayward bird to Twitter.

“There's a peacock hanging out a window on 5th avenue across from the central park zoo #OnlyInNYC,” Twitter user Rachel Klein announced about 12 p.m.

“Just saw a peacock chilling on the windowsill on the fifth floor across the street from Central Park Zoo,” Brittany Villalona tweeted roughly one hour later. “You know someone's getting #fired”

A Twitter feed for the peacock popped up soon after, a la the cobra that escaped the Bronx Zoo earlier this year, joking about the bird's escape.

"Does anyone know how I can get to 30 Rock?" @BirdOnTheTown tweeted. "A lot of people forget that peacocks aren't just beautiful... we can fly too. Ha!"