Who’s Been Killing the Feral Peacocks of Palos Verdes?
January 6, 2016 7:37 PM   Subscribe

A string of peafowl deaths has the neighborhood divided. Over the years the Retzes had seen a handful of dead peafowl, usually casualties of old age or coyote attacks. But the bird in front of Kurrasch’s house was different. Even peacocks, which are lousy at flying, don’t simply plummet to their deaths.
posted by headspace (25 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Could be worse, like guinea hens. They sound like rusty windmills in a medium breeze.
posted by ridgerunner at 8:45 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

I would be surprised if people were not aware before moving into a three-street neighborhood like this that the community was strongly pro-peacock, even if this weren't written into the HOA regulations. I mean, this seems like moving into a Christmas lights neighborhood. With more poop, noise, and ruined gardens, of course. I used to live in a peacock neighborhood in LA, and there was just no way I could not have noticed them while looking at the place pre-move in.

And WTF was that guy's kid doing with that air rifle?
posted by queensissy at 8:55 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yeah, Poulin came across like a real douchebag, what with his lovely comment about how people should use their "loving gene" in ways he finds appropriate.

But the way the unnamed woman talked about "squishing" the peacock eggs with a "malevolent smile" gave me the creeps. "Get it?" Ugh.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 9:25 PM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

Preparing to put his eye out?

Our neighborhood used to have a resident peacock, it's been years since I've been woken at 4 am by his Marines scream (Hoooooaahhhhh!), long enough to miss him. I wonder if my neighbors had a hand in his disappearance, the afternoon sun hit their patio door at just the right angle that the peacock could see his reflection in it, so he spent weeks slowly parading back and forth, tail spread and ready to attack anyone who tried to step through the door.
posted by jamaro at 9:27 PM on January 6, 2016

I am now terrified of peacocks instead of slightly distrustful.

I have a general distrust of birds other than owls and some other raptors that I can't really explain.
posted by sio42 at 9:54 PM on January 6, 2016

Oh, ffs. If you don't like the peacocks, move. Nobody in this story lacks the wherewithal to find suitable housing in some other tony neighborhood. There are three streets where people are peacock mad. If you don't like peacocks, just don't live on those streets. Sheesh.
posted by town of cats at 11:58 PM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]

If you're surrounded by the lunacy of a community that will not take action against nuisance animals you've got to just gut up and accept it, or bail out, sell your home and find another place to live.

The only hope for those against it would be if Vito Corleone moved there, and didn't like the birds -- they'd be gone inside a week. He would reason with those who wanted the birds to stay, and burn their houses down if they didn't see his line of reasoning.

No way would I stay in a place where there are destructive, screeching, howling, pecking, shitting birds wandering about freely, unrestricted, the population growing year by year. But that's me.

It appears that some people dig it.

I was extremely disappointed when the city of Austin built a walkway about 75 feet off shore on the river I live on, the view which we've enjoyed all these years now not nearly so nice.

I did what I could -- I went to planning meetings, city council meetings, blah blah blah -- but it was a foregone conclusion. It was going to be built. And it was built. I just had to suck it up. Accept it or move. I accepted it. I still love where I live. My world hasn't ended.

Honestly, it's best for the city -- now everyone who can walk or ride a bike has the view we've enjoyed these long years, plus we've mostly still got it also.

But if the homeowners association of the condos I live in brought in a bunch of screeching shitting stinking destructive birds the size of small cars and gave them free rein and the majority of those who own here voted that it's what they want, I would get out of here the instant I find someone fool enough to put ink on the contract.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:06 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Where I live, the primary nuisance animals are thousands and thousands of noisy humans paving every available inch of space for their big loud stinking dangerous cars to drive or park. We also have a few large snorting wild boars and their cuddly offspring trotting about and digging up patches of grass in the parks, and we have some unknown number of invisible moles leaving a few little hills of dirt in the lawns at night, but I'm glad of them and I would welcome big noisy stinky ridiculous birds into the neighborhood if they deterred a few Mercedes owners from moving in.
posted by pracowity at 1:52 AM on January 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

Poulin means poultry-keeper. Peafowl are poultry.
posted by Jane the Brown at 4:14 AM on January 7, 2016

My college had peacocks. They are the worst. If people don't like them they shouldn't live in a peacock neighborhood I guess, but I question the sanity of anyone who voluntarily wants to live around them.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:34 AM on January 7, 2016

Oh, ffs. If you don't like the peacocks, move.

Just don't move to the Boston area, especially Brookline. They're overrun with aggro wild turkeys that will attack anything in sight.
posted by briank at 5:32 AM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

Turkeys don't make much noise. Peacocks make a lot of noise and they make it at incredibly high volume. I once had a neighbor on the next street over who kept a couple of peacocks. I hate him to this day. I used to have a tape recording of another neighbor (on my street) riding his open-pipes Harley up the hill, between me and the birds, and the roar of the bike was completely drowned out by the cry of the agitated peacocks. If you haven't lived around the damned things, you have no idea how bad they are.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:52 AM on January 7, 2016

I grew up with peacocks and loved them. They, and their noises, are so nostalgic for me now.
posted by mkuhnell at 7:11 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, flocks of wild turkeys roam my neighborhood and I would qualify them as basically harmless. I'm baffled by how they're such a big issue in Brookline (I live down on Route 1, so not far from Boston). Mostly they stand in the street like idiots at times, and during mating season you occasionally hear some strange noises (nothing quite like a 4am turkey lovin' wake-up call ).

Plus, it's pretty hilarious watching them fly up into the trees to roost.
posted by tocts at 7:19 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I mean, this seems like moving into a Christmas lights neighborhood. With more poop, noise, and ruined gardens, of course.

Thanks for the heads up - - am re-evaluating impending move into Christmas lights neighborhood.
posted by fairmettle at 7:31 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

We have geese and ducks in my apartment complex. They're a little bit of a nuisance, but tolerable. Maybe that's because there's not a THOUSAND OF THEM.

Seriously, the killing thing is horrible - that woman who squashed an entire nest of eggs is despicable - but there's got to be a middle ground. They really ought to allow trapping and relocation like the other neighborhoods do, regardless of the apparently large number of folks who don't want the peafowl touched at all.

And I agree that if you move there now or have done recently and knew what you were getting into, that's one thing, that's on you. But for the folks who have been there a while, the ones who didn't realize what a problem it was going to become, I don't think it's fair to them to tell them to buck up and deal with what must seem to them to be a destructive infestation. They paid for beautiful houses and views and the general area - not for peacocks to come pecking at their cars. Maybe I'm a big meanie but I wish it was feasible for the soft touches that campaign for no peafowl control to have to pay for all the damage done.
posted by angeline at 7:31 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm just disappointed that she squashed the eggs instead of making them into an omelette. She had to wonder what that tastes like.
posted by epanalepsis at 7:49 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would like to see more work done to develop oral contraceptives that could be distributed in food to control animal populations (peacock, deer, cats, dogs, geese, pigeons, etc.). Cut the numbers to a reasonable level for each local environment, eliminate a big reason people use to buy guns, and reduce the money going into the pockets of gun manufacturers and dealers. No hunting necessary (reduced gun culture). No need to capture and kill or move wild animals. No vigilante actions encouraged.
posted by pracowity at 8:37 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I grew up near Arcadia, where the Southern California peacocks seem to have gotten their start, and I have mixed feelings about those beautiful, noisy birds. They're not as bad as the screeching flocks of wild parrots that plague my mom's house, but there's an annoying tendency for people to let peacocks get away with murder because of their plumage. They're the bird version of yappy little white dogs, only bigger, noisier, and meaner.

On a side note, "Narcissa Vanderlip" has got to be the most straight-up Harry Potter name I've ever seen in the wild.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:36 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

My sister lives way out in the country and keeps chickens and they have wild turkeys around too. One morning her grandson ran into the house and said "Meemee, you have to come see this BEAUTIFUL TURKEY!" It was a peacock. No idea where it came from. It tried to mate with the hens whenever the roosters weren't looking. It vanished, probably due to the coyotes that roam around there, and she's still mad she didn't shoot it and sell the feathers on eBay.

But now, they'll always be Beautiful Turkeys to me.

I've never eaten a peacock, do they taste good?

And squishing eggs is kind of icky, but on the other hand, it's less messy than killing them once hatched. I think if my neighborhood was overrun to the point that I couldn't even hire humane trap-and-relocaters, I'd probably squish eggs too.

They're birds, they're neither native nor endangered, and the amount of time, care and police resources devoted to these rich white people's useless pets is about as firm an indictment of inequality that one could find.
posted by emjaybee at 9:52 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Who’s Been Killing the Feral Peacocks of Palos Verdes?

Well if they're gonna make a Feral Case of this, I think they should send in some Feral Marshals -- to "clean up" the town.
posted by Herodios at 9:53 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can't say I'd voluntarily sign up to live around flocks of wild peacocks, but both the houses I lived in growing up had neighbors who owned peacocks (in rural Ohio, strangely), and it was pretty fun. The first bird snuck over to our yard all the time, which meant he left us bunches of tail feathers (which is about the coolest thing ever for an elementary school-aged kid), but he also drove my dad up the wall with his noise. The second actually lived in our yard for a summer, and he was a really fun bird. Turned out his mate had died and so he decided to go wandering, and the neighbor didn't particularly want him back. Poor guy was probably just lonely, but he really seemed to like us. He'd put up his tail feathers for us, eat bread out of our hands, and follow us around the yard. He was also much quieter than the first neighbor peacock, and really the only problem was we couldn't teach him to stay off the porch, so there was a lot of poop to clean up. We eventually gave him to a different neighbor who had a whole barn full of assorted farm animals, since we didn't actually want to own a peacock but also didn't want him to die of cold and neglect over the winter.
posted by gueneverey at 10:04 AM on January 7, 2016

As an RPV resident, it is funny to see the range of reactions to what is effectively one of the big symbols of the peninsula. Most days after dropping off the kid at school, I happen upon a flock that has taken up residency in the surrounding neighborhood; four or five birds that wander around and nest on people's roofs or in their yards. These birds aren't afraid of anything-- they will cross the street as slowly as they please, and you get to just sit in your car and wait a minute while they stare at you as they're walking.

We can hear the peacock calls of a different flock from our house, and while it isn't annoying from that distance, I could see how it would get to be a pain in the ass if it was a bird on the top of your roof.

The idea, though, that people would be actively killing these birds is just astonishing. The Palos Verdes peninsula (where RPV, Rolling Hills, PV Estates, etc are located) is huge. There is a ton of open space here-- this isn't Los Angeles proper. If you make it undesirable for the birds to live in your yard, lady who complains that she can't eat outside (which is a load of PV ranch horseshit), then they'll move to any number of canyons or open spaces where they can live.

Seriously, anyone who is actively complaining about birds of all things needs to focus on their non-first-world-problems. Go surfing in Lunada Bay and then complain about birds.
posted by mark242 at 12:26 PM on January 7, 2016

Even peacocks, which are lousy at flying, don’t simply plummet to their deaths.

As God is my witness, I thought peacocks could fly.
posted by The Tensor at 1:25 PM on January 7, 2016

That picture of the smiling woman and a bright teal peacock cruising in a red convertible, with a pair of doggy eyes looking up from the backseat, is one of the funniest things I've seen in weeks, especially because I didn't see the dog right away. So profoundly silly, yet kind of touching too.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:50 PM on January 8, 2016

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