Discover Austin: Mayfield Park - Episode 37
Mayfield Park and Preserve is home to a group of peafowl. Mating season begins in February, meaning the males have grown their full plumage. Head out to see the peacocks strut their stuff in the spring or head out in July to collect the feathers they drop at the end of mating season.
Other Discover Austin topics seen in this episode: Mount Bonnell
Located at 35th Street and Mt. Bonnell Road, Mayfield Park is home to about two dozen peacocks. Or, more precisely, peafowl. You see, the females are peahens, the males are peacocks, and the babies are peachicks. In February, the male’s tail feathers grow out so they can attract the peahens for mating season. The females lay somewhere between 7 and 17 eggs with an incubation period of about 4 weeks. Mating season ends around mid-July and the peacocks lose their tail feathers at that time.
Of course, there other things to enjoy beside the peacocks. Mayfield Park includes a cottage and two-acre garden all surrounded by a 21-acre preserve with walking trails and a wildlife habitat. The cottage and grounds were originally purchased in 1909 by Mr. Allison Mayfield to use as a summer home. His daughter Mary and her husband, Milton, later moved into the house and created the two-acre gardens. There are six cement ponds arranged to resemble a flower. These ponds are home to fish, turtles, frogs, and snakes. In addition to the gardens, you’ll find ample places to sit and enjoy the whole area. The cottage and garden can be rented out for small to medium-sized events. When Mary passed away in 1971, she left the house and grounds to the City of Austin. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1935, friends of Mary and Milton gifted them with a pair of peafowl for Christmas. In the ensuing years, the couple added to the collection, and today most of the peafowl are descendants of the original group. There are two types of peafowl at the park: India Blue and Black Shoulder. They are quite similar with shoulder color being the main difference. A group of volunteers feed the peafowl so please do not feed them when you visit the park.
The preserve around Mayfield Park has many hiking trails available to enjoy the wildlife that extends beyond the peafowl. The Mayfield Park Community Project is a volunteer group whose mission is to restore and improve Mayfield Park. If you would like to get involved, the best way to start is to volunteer with the park maintenance on the second Saturday morning of every month.
A visit to Mayfield Park to see the peafowl is always a great time. Even when the peacocks aren’t strutting with full plumage, there are plenty of nature trails to enjoy. I’m Craig Smyser with RE/MAX Capital City, thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin.