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When we set out to explore Morningside Heights a few days ago, the last thing we expected to find was a group of peacocks! And yet, there they were: three beautiful birds strutting around the grounds of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. One even has its own Twitter account: @CathedralPhil.

When we asked the security guard about the peacocks, he simply said, “It’s just something that we have!” But we found out that the birds are named after clergymen at the Cathedral: The white (not albino) peacock is Phil, and the other two are Jim and Harry. Apparently, they’ve been around since the 1980s, when they were donated to the church by the Bronx Zoo. But get this–they reportedly don’t even like each other! Needless to say, the feuding peacocks truly bring some color and character to the holy grounds of the cathedral.

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One was perched on top of a fence, grooming itself, ignoring the many spectators snapping photos of him. Another roosted on the building behind the Cathedral that used to be Leake and Watts Orphan Asylum. By the entrance of the building’s driveway stood Phil, the third bird–a pure white variation of the other two creatures.

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Have you spotted peacocks or other unexpected critters at any other location in New York City? Let us know if you have! Otherwise, check out these great photos from the Gothamist.

Get in touch with the author @YiinYangYale.

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