Aviary volunteers are “ecstatic” that Dunfermline’s beloved peacocks are to be honoured with the Freedom of the City of Dunfermline.
The iconic birds will be the first to receive the award since the Fife town was granted city status last year.
And Suzi Ross, who has looked after them for the last eight years, says she hasn’t stopped grinning since she heard the news.
“I always said my job would be done once there are enough birds in the park and they get the freedom of the city,” she said.
And she joked: “I might just retire!”
Members of Fife Council’s Dunfermline area committee agreed to recommend the award due to the peacocks’ “symbolic importance” to the community.
They said they wanted ” to recognise and welcome their continued presence in and around the city.”
Jaws ‘actually sore’ from smiling at Dunfermline peacocks news
Suzi founded the Peacocks in Pittencrieff Park group in 2016 and has been pushing for the award for some time.
“For years and years they said the birds already had the freedom of the city,” she said.
“But when we looked into it we couldn’t find anything to say that.
“I’ve spent four or five years trying to get them the freedom and now I can’t stop smiling.
“My jaws are actually sore. I’m absolutely ecstatic.”
‘May the peacocks continue to strut the streets’
The news comes just over a year since the aviary was rocked by the sickening torture and killing of one peacock, Malcolm.
Suzi says volunteers are still getting over the horrific incident.
“Last year was a shocker,” she said. To go the way Malcolm went was horrendous.”
Two months later, Dunfermline MSP Douglas Chapman presented the remaining peacock population with a symbolic key to the city after their lack of “freedom” status emerged.
He is also delighted by Tuesday’s decision.
And he said: “I am sure there will be an extra spring in the step of the volunteers who take good care of our peacocks.
“And may our peacocks strut the streets of our proud city for many, many years to come.”
Dunfermline peacocks visit shops and pubs
The Dunfermline peacocks have been wandering free around Pittencrieff Park since 1905.
Philanthropist Henry Beveridge returned from India with two peafowl and they have roamed the town ever since.
They are often seen venturing up the High Street and along surrounding roads.
In 2008, a peacock called Clive was photographed trying to get into the Peacocks store, with a security guard eventually locking the doors to keep him out.
And the fire service had to be called on one occasion to rescue him from the Kingsgate shopping centre roof.
“They’re also in and out the pubs,” said Suzi. “I’m always in the pub trying to get them out.”
Presentation ceremony will mark award
The peacock sanctuary, which relies on public donations, ensures the population continues to grow.
And Suzi’s husband Iain is among the team of volunteers dedicated to their welfare.
Dunfermline area committee convener, Councillor James Calder, said: “Dunfermline’s peacocks are very important to the city.
“By supporting awarding them freedom of the city we’re recognising their valuable contribution and encouraging their presence in and around the city.
“The council will now look at ratifying the decision and we will also start planning a presentation ceremony to mark the award.”