Peacocks Take Over Florida Town

Peacocks Take Over Florida Town

Alisa Opar
Published: 12/23/2009


It was a summer of love for the peacocks of Longboat Key, Florida. The number of the magnificent birds jumped from about 12 to 60 on the Gulf coast island. While they attract out-of-towners, locals seem to feel more aggravation than appreciation for the free-roaming birds, which peck at cars, disrupt traffic, and tear up gardens. So the residents are getting rid of the peacocks.

In November a local paper, the Observer, reported: "Longbeach Village Association President Michael Drake informed Commissioner Gene Jaleski the Village has hired a company to remove peacocks from the neighborhood in early December, and again in mid-December if needed.?“I will not stop until we get down to a dozen birds,” Drake wrote in an e-mail to Jaleski."

Yesterday, the AP reported the fate of the birds that are removed: "A local village association has hired a company to remove most of the birds. Island officials said the captured birds will be taken to wildlife sanctuaries around the state."

A few fun facts about peafowl from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, then a funny video below:

• Peafowl are native to the Indian subcontinent
• The first reported introduction into the continental United States occurred in 1879, when Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin brought 3 pairs to his vast ranch in the San Gabriel Valley of California. Today, semidomestic or feral populations persist mostly in California and Florida.
• Peacocks molt toward the end of each summer, and their stunning plumage gradually falls off. Feathers can wear out and lose their functionality over time, and since these feathers aren't self-regenerating, birds must replace them entirely. Hormones trigger the beginning of the molting process, which is timed to occur after the mating season to allow for the energy required to grow the new feathers.

A quick search on YouTube turns up a few videos starting peacocks in Longboat Key. Some, like the one below, show how the birds seem to be attracted to cars, and the dangers of getting too close to wild animals. Others, like this one, are quick shots taken from a safe distance of the birds in peoples’ yards. And the one at the top is a funny-suspenseful dog versus peacock short (bet you can’t guess who wins!).