Residents of Los Angeles County are getting fed up with the continued presence of wild peacocks that roam their neighborhoods. The birds, which have been living in the area for over 100 years, have been causing property damage and keeping residents up all night with their loud shrieking.
When the birds were first brought to the area in the late 1800s, they were considered a status symbol for wealthy individuals. Farmers also used them to control the pest population and to serve as a burglar alarm because their loud screaming would alert them to any intruders.
As the landscape in Los Angeles changed over the years, the birds went from being a status symbol to a nuisance.
Kathryn Barger, who serves on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, told the New York Times that the issue has gotten worse over the past year as the peacock population has exploded. She explained that efforts to relocate the birds away from residential areas were put on hold because of an outbreak of the virulent Newcastle disease in local bird populations. While those relocation efforts have resumed this year, there are still hundreds of peacocks roaming residential neighborhoods.
Now, local officials are trying to deal with the issue and have proposed an ordinance to ban people from feeding the majestic birds. While wildlife experts advise against feeding the peacocks, many people continue to give them food.
"It encourages them to stay," Francine Bradley, a poultry specialist emerita at the University of California, Davis, told the paper. "And because these birds are not native, they are destroying native habitats."
The L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control and County Council now has 90 days to draft an ordinance to prohibit people from feeding the birds. While it won't completely get rid of the birds, Barger hopes it will help keep their population manageable.
"They are still going to be a part of the community," she said. "That's just the way it is."