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Longboat Key Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2010 7 years ago

Village peacocks ruffle feathers

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

The peacocks of the Longbeach Village are drawn to Kip O’Neill’s home.

“There are trees that they nest in overnight,” O’Neill said. “Sometimes in the morning there are 30 of them on the roof. They stomp around and wake you up at 6:30 in the morning.”

In past years, O’Neill has had her car repainted twice as the result of scratches from the peacocks, and the birds have also destroyed her screen and eaten her plants.

But, starting this week, the flock of as many as 70 peacocks could begin to shrink.

According to Longbeach Village Association President Michael Drake, the Village has hired Nuisance Wildlife Removal, using $2,400 that the Longboat Key Town Commssion voted in March to allocate for peacock removal. The company will relocate all but 12 birds.

Drake said that this year’s removal efforts will differ from those in past years, because four residences throughout the Village will be used to trap the birds instead of a single location. Also, although Drake had trapped the birds in his garage in past years, this year, Nuisance Wildlife Removal will put out the traps.

“We’re trying to maximize our catching,” Drake said.

According to Drake, the company started out feeding the peacocks cracked corn but realized that the peacocks preferred wild birdseed. After about a week of feeding them from the same locations so that the birds become accustomed to going to that spot, the company will trap them. The efforts come just before summer, which is peacock-mating season.

Drake stresses that peacocks are not killed but relocated, often to farms where their presence is beneficial because they eat bugs. Some residents, he said, like the peacocks and continue to feed them daily.

But O’Neill was pleased to learn of the removal efforts.

“The culling of them is long overdue,” she said. “The problem just grows and grows.”

Village resident Chantal Diem also said the removal was necessary.

“I think they’re beautiful birds, but they belong in a zoo,” she said.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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