Cathedral Of St. John The Divine Bid Fond Farewell To Feathered Friends In Harlem

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine’s three peacocks in Harlem have been a striking presence on the Cathedral’s grounds for over twenty years.

Delighting New Yorkers with their elegant bearing, vibrant plumage, and trumpeting calls.

Now, as the Cathedral works to ensure that they receive the best possible quality of care as they age, this Morningside Heights trio will be celebrated before they embark on their well-deserved retirements to Animal Nation, an animal sanctuary in South Salem, NY.

The event will take place on January 21, 2023, during a family-friendly carnival from 12 pm to 4 pm, followed by a ceremony at 4 pm at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue (at 112th Street), Harlem, NY.

Peacocks have been a familiar sight on the grounds of the Cathedral since 1972, when the first flock was introduced. Jim, Harry, and Phil, the Cathedral’s current trio, were hatched in 2002 and were gifted to the Cathedral by students of The Cathedral School.


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The three peacocks, named after two of the Cathedral’s previous deans and a former head of The Cathedral School, have lived long, peaceful lives on the grounds, but have dealt with various health ailments with the approach of old age.

With the help of Animal Nation, a nonprofit, 100% volunteer-run wild, farm, and domestic animal rescue facility and adoption center with a mission to eliminate cruelty to animals while spreading compassion into the hearts of all beings, the Cathedral hopes to give the peacocks a happy and healthy retirement upstate.

The Cathedral, along with Advancing the Community of Tomorrow (ACT) and The Cathedral School, will celebrate this special triumvirate with a family festival and children’s carnival, which will include a full afternoon of art workshops, face painting, storytelling, and costume contests.

The peacocks were neighbors to generations of School and ACT graduates, serving as strong symbols of the beauty, diversity, and history of the Cathedral community.

Care for animals and the world is a core tenet of these intertwined communities, from the Cathedral’s St. Francis Day services and partnerships with farm and wildlife center Green Chimneys to The School and ACT’s eco-conscious education.

With Harry, Phil, and Jim nearing their golden ages, the celebration will pay tribute to their tenure on the grounds and introduce visitors to Cathedral programs and history.

Close attention to the peacocks’ well-being is nothing new for the Cathedral. Over the years, the Cathedral has cared for the three birds with the expert help of the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine.



The peacocks received a new hutch in 2017, designed to match the Cathedral’s Gothic appearance by Ryan Lewandowski and Paul Scrugha, the winners of a design competition by Ennead Architects.

The new hutch was blessed in an outdoor ceremony by The Right Reverend Andrew Dietsche, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

As symbols of the Cathedral and The Cathedral School, the peacocks will always be part of the history and legacy of this Manhattan landmark, and discussions are underway about the possibility of a future flock of beloved birds coming to the grounds.

Photo credit: Source.

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