Peacocks In Miami Will Be Relocated After Terrorizing Residents, Officials Say

Feb 16, 2020
Originally published on February 16, 2020 11:25 am
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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood is known for its leafy tropical streets and its laid-back bohemian feel. That's probably why it attracts so many people and so many peacocks. Hundreds of the exotic birds strut through the city's oldest neighborhood - with the males displaying their magnificent plumage. The courtship displays attract a lot of tourists and stop a lot of traffic. The peacocks also devour flowers. They poop everywhere. And - I can attest to this - they screech from rooftops at 3 in the morning.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEACOCKS SCREECHING)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Some people love them. Some people hate them. Tom Falco runs the Coconut Grove Grapevine blog. He's been watching the debate over the birds blow up online. Personally, he likes having the peacocks around, well, except for that screeching.

TOM FALCO: The other day I was driving. It was like noon. It was the middle of the day. And I heard a screech. It sounds like a murder. You're like - you can't believe the sound of them. And I almost, like, had an accident because of that. I jumped.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Recently, there's been a surge in the number of peacocks and peahens and, well, poop. Residents have been complaining to the city now that they're being held hostage by the birds. On Thursday, the Miami City Commission voted unanimously to trap and remove some of them. That is not going to be easy. We called several wildlife trapping companies to ask about the process. And they won't touch them. One man described the peacocks as ninja-like, able to leap over houses. We finally reached wildlife trapper James Dean (ph), who isn't deterred by the wily beasts. But right now is a bad time, he says. The males are particularly aggressive because it's mating season.

JAMES DEAN: If you have a dark-colored vehicle, they'll attack the vehicle because they see the reflection. And they think it's another male taking over. And they just start pecking it and destroying a car. One particular call that I did on a peacock down in the Palm Bay area, the guy had a car less than three days - it was brand-new - and it was completely destroyed by a male peacock.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Completely destroyed. The city says the birds will be humanely captured and go to a sanctuary, where they can live out their days in peace far from shiny things. That should still leave plenty of peacocks in Coconut Grove, in case you were wondering, making bird lovers happy. Car owners, however, probably shouldn't rest easy until after mating season.

(SOUNDBITE OF BILL LLOYD SONG, "COCONUT GROVE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.