Mayfield Park is a Historic Cottage Gardens and Nature Preserve in Austin, Texas
Mayfield Park is a historic cottage gardens and nature preserve in Austin, Texas on a bluff overlooking Lake Austin. The property was originally built in the 1870s and purchased by Allison Mayfield, former Secretary of State of Texas. She willed it to the city of Austin in 1971, and today the historic property is a popular destination for weddings and special events. Learn more here in Austin Texas.
The board and batten, twin-gabled cottage at Mayfield Park is one of the most famous examples of the Bungalow style in Austin. It was bought by Allison Mayfield and his wife, Mary Frances in 1909 as a weekend retreat for their family. Over the next five decades, the Gutsches worked with their live-in gardener, Esteban Arredondo, to develop the two acres of garden ponds and landscape.
This 21-acre property also houses an extensive wildlife habitat and walking trails that are great for families. It’s a serene sanctuary in the heart of town, perfect for an afternoon picnic or an evening stroll.
The most memorable aspect of visiting Mayfield Park are the peacocks that roam freely throughout the grounds. These iridescent birds can be seen strutting and tatting in the garden ponds.
They are a highlight of any visit to Mayfield Park, and are an important part of the preserve’s history. Most of the peacocks here came from a pair given to Mary and Milton Gutsch in 1935, but they are now a full flock that has continued to grow and thrive.
When a new peacock arrives at the park, volunteers are called to assist with integration into the flock and provide them with food and water. Unlike chickens, peacocks are very territorial and can be aggressive toward newcomers.
Adding to the challenge is that the newly arrived birds are young males, and they have high levels of testosterone. This makes it harder to integrate the peacocks into the flock.
Another thing that can make it difficult to integrate peacocks is their notoriously loud and screeching voices. This is especially true during mating season, when their hormones are in high gear.
A third factor that can make it hard to handle a new peacock is their temperament. Oftentimes, peacocks will bully or peck at their new neighbors, which can cause trouble for the rest of the flock.
These issues are why the staff at Mayfield Park do their best to care for new arrivals, and why they’re so willing to help peacock owners find a safe home. It’s just one of the many reasons why the nature preserve has remained an Austin landmark for so long.
While the park is famous for its resident peacocks, there are plenty of non-peacock animals that call it home as well. There’s a small lake and several ponds filled with koi fish, water lilies, lotuses, and turtles. The wildlife at Mayfield Park is an exciting and educational experience, so bring your camera and come enjoy a day of fun in the sun. Learn more information about McKinney Falls State Park is a Natural Oasis on the Outer Rings of Texas.