Peevish Peacocks Leading the Resistance in British Columbia

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Ever since a roosting tree was illegally removed, the feral peafowl have taken to attacking cars in the Sullivan Heights neighborhood.

Long before the neighborhood of Sullivan Heights in Surrey, British Columbia, was developed, there was a peacock farm. But then the farmer moved out and hundreds of houses were built, though some of the peacocks remained. Fast forward to present day and the age-old suburbs-versus-wildlife conflict is in full swing – with peafowl starring in the role usually reserved for the likes of raccoons and coyotes.

Now, some 150 feral peafowl rule the roost in the neighborhood. Anyone familiar with the baby-having-a-nightmare cry of the showy birds can imagine that this might make life difficult for the resident humans. But now the peafowl have taken things a step further.

One resident met his wit’s end as a tree on his property became a popular roosting spot. More than forty peafowl a night would make the tree their home and gambol about his gables. So he (illegally) had the tree removed.

Peafowl Rampage

But it seems that this action has inspired a new behavior among the pesky peacocks, reports CTV News Vancouver. They have started attacking luxury cars. Using their impressive beaks and talons, they are making mincemeat of shiny paint jobs and inflicting thousands of dollars worth of damage – sometimes they go at it for hours, says one resident.

While this is probably more about the birds attacking their own reflection, rather than an organized campaign of revenge, it’s hard not to let the imagination wander with this one. Development encroaches their (admittedly, non-native) habitat ... their favorite tree gets cut down ... the mad birds take to the streets, attacking the machines that brings these destructive two-legged animals into their realm. In terms of “the revenge of the animals” reverie, it’s got great potential.

No Clear Solution

Having grown up in a California neighborhood visited by very loud cackling flocks of wild parrots and a colony of runaway peacocks, I can say from experience that I would gladly tolerate their shenanigans in exchange for the opportunity to experience their quirky majesty. But some of the residents of Sullivan Heights appear to have had their fill. Yet what can be done? The city of Surrey says that they have talked with wildlife consultants and are issuing fines to anyone who feeds the birds, but are unable to act further because the Wildlife Act doesn't include peafowl.

"They're really in this grey area where there's no clear legislative responsibility," Surrey's manager of public safety operations, Jas Rehal, told CTV.

Given that no nearby peacock sanctuary has stepped in to save the day, maybe the residents of Sullivan Heights can learn to co-exist with their avian cohabitants. The humans may not like the peacock calls, but the peacocks have been putting up with the humans’ lawn mowers and loud cars and leaf blowers for years, so maybe everyone could just call it even?

Via CBS News