Peacocks roaming Southern California neighborhood causing trouble for residents

PASADENA, Calif. -- A problem that's gotten even bigger during the pandemic is the number of peacocks and peahens roaming around the San Gabriel Valley in California.

They may look pretty, but they make a lot of noise.

"It sounds like babies being tortured and with a close-up microphone. It's very... shocking," said Chapman Woods resident Kathleen Tuttle.

"There's no way you can sleep through it, and it's extremely distracting," said Tuttle.

Somewhere between 50 to 100 peacocks and their mating calls live in a Chapman Woods neighborhood. Neighbors say peacocks have lived in the area for more than 100 years and were originally brought to the community to liven it up in the 1920s. However, the colorful birds have become a nuisance to neighbors.

"There's too many of them, and they leave a mess," said Chapman Woods resident Mary Bassel. "And I watch them, so far my car hasn't gotten hit, but I watch them pecking at people's cars and so they create havoc in their midst, but they are beautiful."

Some neighbors have taken to feeding the birds, something a wildlife specialist says makes the peafowl dependent on the food source, and the birth numbers actually increase as compared to if they were left in the wild.

"Please don't feed them anymore," said wildlife specialist Mike Maxcy. "Allow us to remove the amount that is recommended by the city managers, and hopefully in the future it's something our residents can enjoy and not be annoyed by."

L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger drafted a motion that would create an ordinance that, "... prohibits the feeding of wildlife because it disrupts an animal's normal behavior pattern. The cities of Arcadia and Pasadena prohibit the feeding of peafowl in their municipal codes."

One neighbor who's lived in the community for 21 years says the peacocks were born in the area and deserve to stay there.

"I spend a lot of money just buying feed for them, and I don't mind it," said Maria Gunnell.

The plan, for now, is that animal control will humanely capture the peacocks and then relocate them to farms in San Diego or Bakersfield.

"We have very large cages that are made of chain link, so it's not abrasive to their feathers," said Jonathan Gonzalez a peafowl relocator. "We really care that they are moved as one piece under the least amount of stress possible."
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