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Some Americans love Indian Peafowl while others hate the bird

Hundreds of peacocks along with peahens have become part of California's South Pasadena with many resident now complaining about them

The beautiful peacocks – the national bird of India – along with peahens has become a bone of contention among the residents of South Pasadena in California, United States. As per a report in smithsonianmag.com while some people find them a major problem as they scratch and dent the cars, spoil the lawns while their screeching at night keeps them awake, others find them adorable and feed them too.

Though residents of Los Angeles County for years now, there are people who dislike the peafowl. Kathleen Tuttle a Chapman Woods resident said: “It sounds like babies being tortured and with a close-up microphone. It’s very shocking. There’s no way you can sleep through it, and it’s extremely distracting.”

Among their admirers are Feliza Castellanos who observed: “Peafowl walk along our block from time to time, and I don’t ever see them causing any nuisance. They are beautiful birds; I don’t see why they want to round them up and get rid of them.”

Having discussed the issue of peacock threadbare in City Council meetings and after many petitions and open forum, it has been decided to remove these birds and relocate them to ranches, open spaces and private farms in the State. This has commenced from December 2 last year and now the city authorities are on the lookout for volunteers to keep cages in their yards to trap these birds.

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The number of peafowl has shot up since last year. In 2021, there were 36 and in 2022 they became 102. Probably absence of predators and plenty of pine trees have aided their growth with birds from other overpopulated regions moving in here.

Peafowl are not native to the US and the birds found now in cities like Austin, Honolulu and Miami have most likely descended from those imported from India in the 1870s by Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin, a rancher. Called Indian peafowl, these species are one of the three in the world with the females called as peahens and males referred to as peacocks. The former are brown or dull grey in colour while the latter are bright blue.

In 1909 after Baldwin’s demise, the peafowl numbering 100 were moved to a portion of his 8,000-acre ranch which was turned into the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. Following this they have been digging up gardens, scratching children and causing traffic jams.

Faced with these problems some residents resorted to killing them either by poisoning or shooting them with arrows or rubber bullets. Many find this cruel and disturbing.

Still there are local residents who favour these creatures to stay in the area. Rachel Pinckney told South Pasadena Review: “I do believe that the peafowls add value to my property, and I believe that they are something that is unique to this area. It’s not like you can live anywhere and have these types of experiences with nature and such beauty. I have a hard time understanding how people take that for granted, especially in these times.”