If you’ve been running errands in the Center Grove area in the past few weeks, you may have spotted something a little unusual: peacocks.

The brightly colored birds have been spotted along State Road 135 multiple times, including in gas station parking lots and around fast food restaurants. The sightings are on the rise this year.

Johnson County Animal Control has gotten eight reports of peacock sightings this month, which is high since the county department usually gets one to two calls per year, director Michael Delp said. And in some years, the county office that is called for stray animals and animal bites has not gotten any reports about peacocks, he said.

But in some cases, officers are likely looking for the same peacock but have just received multiple calls in a certain area, Delp said. For example, earlier this month Bargersville police received two calls about peacocks about 14 hours apart outside of a gas station and a restaurant in the same shopping center near State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road, according to police reports.

And last week, a person brought in a peacock that was safely trapped outside of a fast food restaurant at State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road, Delp said. A caller had reported to animal control that the bird appeared injured and was trying to get into the restaurant, the police report said.

Peacocks are not native to this region, and the colorful birds aren’t migrating to central Indiana, either, Delp said. If a peacock is spotted in Johnson County, the bird likely came from a farm, Delp said.

Farmers in Johnson County keep the birds around their chickens, and when they don’t clip their tail feathers, the peacocks can fly, Delp said.

That is likely how the birds have ended up in busy areas along State Road 135, and most calls the county and police get are from concerned people who are worried the bird may be hit by a car in the busy area. The county office is asking residents to call if they come across one of the birds, so officers can trap them and give them to a local farmer, Delp said.

Peacocks are not federally protected, meaning no laws prohibit people from capturing the birds, but animal control encourages residents to call so they can come get the bird. Trying to catch the bird would be difficult because any attempt to get the bird will likely result in the peacock flying away, Delp said.

“Our main concern is, we don’t want peacocks to get hurt. Just give us a call if you see one out and about,” Delp said.

“It’s not unusual, it’s just more sightings in a short period of time.”

At a glance

If you spot a peacock in a busy area, you can make a report to Johnson County Animal Control:

Call: 736-3924

What they will do: Animal control officers will try to catch the bird and send it to live on a local farm.

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.