There are thousands of interesting parks found throughout the great state of Texas. Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve is just one of those parks. The park is located about 15 minutes from downtown Austin. It covers roughly 20 acres and includes a historic cottage, water lily ponds, and beautiful gardens. Because of its natural beauty, people often use the park to celebrate special events like business conferences and weddings.
People visit Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve for a variety of reasons. Visitors often travel to the nature preserve to admire the beautiful gardens found within, enjoy wildlife photography, or walk along the trails. However, the residents at the park are one of the main attractions. Roughly 25 peafowl reside at the park year-round.
Dozens of Peafowl Reside at Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
Back in 1935, the original pair of peafowl was introduced to the park. Today, the majority of peafowl that reside at the park are descendants of the original pair. There are currently 2 types of peafowl found within the park: the black-shoulder peafowl and the India blue peafowl.
What’s a peafowl you ask? Unknowingly, people commonly refer to peafowl as peacocks which is the wrong terminology. In fact, the males are only referred to as peacocks while females are referred to as peahens.
Black-Shoulder Peafowl: A Color Mutation of the Common Peafowl
Several black-shoulder peafowl are found at the park. Black-shoulder peacocks look almost identical to their close relative the India blue peacock. However, the feathers on the shoulders of each species are vastly different. As their name suggests, male black-shoulder peacocks have dark black feathers that cover the shoulders. When standing next to one another, it’s easy to distinguish a black-shoulder peacock from an India blue peacock.
Female black-shoulder peahens, on the other hand, look completely different than their male counterparts. The females display mostly white feathers with brown and black feathers sprinkled throughout their plumage. As a result, people often mistake the females for having albinism.
India Blue Peafowl: Also Known as the Common Peafowl
In addition to the black-shoulder peafowl, there are several India blue peafowl that reside at Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve. India blue peafowl, or common peafowl, are the classic species of peafowl that most people think of when they hear the word peacock. Like many male birds in the animal kingdom, the males display more vibrant coloring than the females.
Male India blue peacocks have blue iridescent feathers that cover their crown, face, chest, and abdomen. Green, brown, and multicolored feathers cover their shoulders. Females, on the other hand, display white, green, and brown feathers across their entire bodies.
Like the black-shoulder peafowl, determining the gender of an India blue peafowl is rather easy. For example, the length of the bird’s tail can help you determine if it’s a male or female. Peacocks have much longer tails than peahens. A peacock’s tail can reach lengths of up to 5 feet, while a peahen’s tail barely reaches 6 inches. Also, peacocks are the only ones that display the traditional eyespot feathers. In fact, peacocks use their eyespot feathers to put on a show and attract female mates.
Other Wildlife Found at Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
In addition to peafowl, Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve is home to numerous other wildlife species. As mentioned above, the park features several lily ponds which provide the perfect habitat for a diverse group of aquatic animals. Bullfrogs, koi fish, turtles, and water snakes commonly rest in or near the water.
The park also attracts a wide variety of migratory and native Texas birds. Birdwatchers and wildlife photographers often visit the park to observe these birds in a natural setting. Common sightings include the American robin, blue jay, green heron, northern cardinal, and red-bellied woodpecker. Less frequent sightings include the American goldfinch, ladder-back woodpecker, orange-crowned warbler, purple martin, and spotted towhee.
Visit Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
You don’t have to be an avid birdwatcher or wildlife enthusiast to enjoy Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve. Visiting this historic Texas park is a unique experience that everyone in the family can enjoy. The park offers a wide variety of outdoor activities like birdwatching, hiking, and wildlife photography. If you’re ever in the Austin area, this is a stop you don’t want to miss.
The park is open daily from 5 am until 10 pm. There is no entrance fee, so visitors can come and go as they please without worrying about paying to enter. One important thing to note, however, is that no pets are allowed on the park’s premises. This policy helps protect the wildlife and peafowl to ensure they are not harmed or harassed by other animals. For more information about the peafowl found at this historic park, check out the resources below.