Trouble in Los Angeles County: Too Many Peacocks

County officers in Los Angeles have a request: Please don’t feed the peacocks.

In that slice of Southern California, peafowl (a time period encompassing male peacocks, which have dazzling tails, and the duller-colored peahens they pursue) aren’t confined to zoos. They may be discovered sauntering throughout suburban streets or fanning their feathers on manicured lawns.

Some individuals prefer to feed them. Others suppose the creatures are a nuisance. They are typically aggressive, and infrequently noisy. They can destroy flower beds, depart droppings on rooftops and shatter shiny surfaces in the event that they mistake their very own reflections for rivals.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is anticipated to name for the drafting of an ordinance that will bar individuals from feeding the peafowl.

Kathryn Barger, the supervisor who sponsored the movement, stated in an interview that she hoped it could educate individuals and discourage feeding. Residents have been recognized to offer the birds every little thing from bread crumbs to birdseed to pet food, she stated.

That’s not good for peafowl, or for individuals.

“It encourages them to stay,” stated Francine Bradley, a poultry specialist emerita on the University of California, Davis. “And because these birds are not native, they are destroying native habitats.”

Ms. Barger stated the peafowl inhabitants appeared to have exploded over the previous 12 months, in half due to an avian ailment known as virulent Newcastle illness, which led to a chook quarantine (unrelated to the coronavirus) that stymied efforts to maneuver the birds from residential areas to extra acceptable habitats.

The removals, which resumed this 12 months, are a part of a humane course of that doesn’t contain extermination, she added.

“This is about relocating the males so that we can thin out the population,” she stated, “so we can coexist with the peacocks that are in the community in a way that is balanced.”


A peafowl on the prowl close to the canals in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. A proposed prohibition on feeding the birds would apply to unincorporated elements of Los Angeles County.Credit…Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Peafowl, which had been imported to California from their native habitats in South Asia, had been as soon as thought-about a standing image for showy landowners in and across the San Gabriel Valley.

Some say the birds had been first dropped at the world by Elias J. Baldwin, a speculator and entrepreneur referred to as Lucky who established a sprawling ranch in the late 1800s in what’s now town of Arcadia. Others consider the modern-day flocks descended from birds collected by Victor McLaglen, the rough-and-tumble actor who appeared in a long time of Hollywood films.

Ranchers used the omnivorous birds to maintain pests underneath management, and to behave as watchdogs; their piercing cries may warn landowners about intruders. But because the California panorama modified round them, the peafowl remained.

“As this part of Southern California went from ranchos to ranchettes, and then to teensy-weensy suburban backyards, these things got out of control,” Dr. Bradley stated. “They can be extremely destructive.”

The Baldwin ranch in the end grew to become the location of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, the place many peafowl nonetheless stay, attracting vacationers who delight in the birds’ unbelievable plumage. (Arcadia already has an ordinance in opposition to feeding peafowl, The Washington Post reported, however there isn’t a indication that it has been strictly enforced.)

Feeding peafowl could make them overly aggressive, stated Richard Schulhof, the chief government of the arboretum. The birds are wild animals, he stated, that may make their very own feasts out of crops, seeds, bugs, frogs and snakes.

During mating season, which occurs round springtime, they are often particularly noisy. “I can hear it outside my window right now,” Mr. Schulhof stated. “It’s an interesting sound. I can understand that some people would object to hearing the peacocks scream if they’re very close. The volume is very loud.”

Ms. Barger stated that peafowl on her personal property had greeted her with their piercing cries early in the morning.

“I’ve witnessed one of the peacocks get hit by a car,” she added. “I know the noise they make. I know the droppings they leave, and the fact that they can really wreak havoc on your roof.”

Her movement would give county officers 90 days to suggest language for an ordinance, which might then be voted on by the board of supervisors. It would apply to unincorporated areas in the county — to not cities, which might move their very own ordinances — and it stays unclear how the measure can be enforced.

“This has been a longstanding issue, and people are weighing in on both sides,” Ms. Barger stated, including that she hoped that discouraging feeding would assist to deliver the peafowl inhabitants right down to a manageable degree.

“They are still going to be a part of the community,” she stated. “That’s just the way it is.”