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LA County’s Bizarre Peacock Problem

June 22, 2021

Every resident of Los Angeles County has their own ideas about what would make it a better place to live. Some people want to see more police on the streets in the hope that an enhanced presence would reduce crime levels. Better schools is a common request, as is better availability of high-quality healthcare. From public transport to more welfare, the problems and requests you’d usually hear from most people who live in the county are the same as you’d hear from citizens anywhere else in America. That’s not the case at the moment, though. Go out into the streets with a clipboard today, and you’ll find dozens of people asking the authorities to do something about all the peacocks.

We should point out that not everybody hates peacocks. So long as they don’t attack you or otherwise inconvenience you, they’re beautiful creatures to look at. Peacocks are often popular birds to go and see in the zoo or another animal enclosure because of their colorful tail feathers and the way they’re so proud to display them. That’s where the saying “proud as a peacock” comes from. The attractiveness of peacocks is the reason that NBCUniversal uses a peacock logo. Peacock can even persuade online slots players to play games. Log in to an online slots website, and you’ll find slots with names like “Adorned Peacock,” “Peacock King,” and “Clover and Peacock” among the featured attractions. If these birds can persuade online slots players to place their bets at Rose Slots Canada, you might wonder what the issue with seeing them in the streets could possibly be. Surely they just brighten the place up? It’s true that they do that – but that’s far from being all they do.

The sight of peacocks in the streets of LA County isn’t new. It’s a little odd that they’re there – and you don’t tend to realize how odd it is until you leave the area and explain it to someone who’s never lived here – but the birds have been stalking the sidewalks for a century now. During that time, they’ve become a little “streetwise.” Much like pigeons in London’s famous Trafalgar Square because they’ve learned that humans might be interested in feeding them, peacocks have come to expect food from their human neighbors. If they don’t get it, they have an unpleasant tendency to start shrieking in an ear-piercing register. If that doesn’t get them anywhere, they might even turn violent. It’s increasingly common for LA County residents to return to their cars and find them damaged, but what at first looks to be the work of a vandal turns out to be the work of an angry peacock. This, among other reasons, is why the area’s officials have finally had enough. They want residents to stop feeding the birds – and they’re considering making doing so an offense.

On June 9th, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave its unanimous approval to a motion for drafting an ordinance to implement a ban. That means the ordinance hasn’t been written yet, and the ban isn’t in place, but it’s almost certainly coming. To put the matter simply, they think the peacock issue has gone too far. The birds were a charming curiosity when they were first introduced to the area by the eccentric entrepreneur Lucky Baldwin in the late 1800s, but they’ve fed and bred since then. Nobody knows quite how many of them there are now, but it’s thought to be several hundred. It might even be more than a thousand. When they’re not shrieking at people and damaging cars, they’re attacking gardens and, in some cases, household pets. Even when they mind their own business, the droppings they leave behind are an annoyance for local business owners to clean up every morning.

The next step for the LA County Board of Supervisors is to receive a report from the LA County Department of Animal Care and Control. That should happen within ninety days, after which the ordinance will be written, and a ban will almost surely be put in place. The consequences for violating the order may potentially be severe. If someone is caught feeding the peacocks, they could be fined one thousand dollars even for a first offense. For repeat offenders, punishments might escalate up to a maximum of six months in jail. Residents of Arcadia have flouted informal bans and prohibitions on feeding the peacocks before and have become accustomed to defying authorities on the matter. Whether or not they’re still willing to do so when the risks are so high remains to be seen.

While many residents will welcome the fact that the Board of Supervisors is taking action, the consequences of that action are uncertain. Withdrawing food from the peacocks when they’ve spent so many generations becoming accustomed to it might turn out to be counterproductive. They might become angrier, which would lead to even more damage and incidents of them attacking people. It also doesn’t do away with the peacocks. If they’re not handed food, they’ll find it by scavenging. That’s a nuisance for local businesses when they throw out the daily trash. The authorities haven’t countenanced the idea of physically removing the peacocks – a process that’s likely to be extremely difficult – so they’re still going to be on the streets whether they’re being fed or not. The Board also doesn’t approve of citizens taking matters into their own hands by shooting or poisoning the birds, which has been known to happen on occasion. Even with a ban, there will be peacocks on the streets of LA County. It’s just that the peacocks will be hungrier than they have been in the past.

We know that many of our readers love the peacocks and enjoy feeding them, so if you can’t bear the idea of not being allowed to do so anymore, this is your opportunity to have your voice heard. Get in touch with your local authorities to register your opinion as soon as you can. Once the ninety days are up, it’s unlikely that any minds will be changed.