Not only was she a skilled and published cartoonist, but Flannery O'Connor loved birds. She made suits of clothes for her chickens as a child, kept over 40 peacocks at a time, and raised over 100 ducks, hens, and geese at her family’s ancestral farm in Andalusia, Georgia. Her peacocks popped up more than once in her work, as in The Displaced Person:
“What a beauti-ful birrrrd!” the priest murmured.
“Another mouth to feed,” Mrs. McIntyre said, glancing in the peafowl’s direction.
“And when does he raise his splendid tail?” asked the priest.
“Just when it suits him,” she said. “There used to be twenty or thirty of those things on the place but I’ve let them die off. I don’t like to hear them scream in the middle of the night.”
“So beauti-ful,” the priest said. “A tail full of suns,” and he crept forward on tiptoe and looked down on the bird’s back where the polished gold and green design began. The peacock stood still as if he had just come down from some sun-drenched height to be a vision for them all ...