After residents cry fowl: Miami to relocate peacocks


MIAMI (AP) — A group of peacocks, known as a “muster,” has wreaked havoc on a Miami neighborhood will be relocated after city commissioners voted Thursday night to side with residents and agreed to have the birds taken away.

It was a big win for many residents who have complained that the birds have taken control of a Coconut Grove neighborhood, mating into the night, pooping in large piles and scratching cars as they travel in packs of 20 to 40 or more, the Miami Herald reported.

Andrews Candela told commissioners before Thursday night’s vote that he once felt lucky to live in North Grove, but the massive infestation of peacocks have ruined the quality of life for him and his wife.

“I don’t want to remain forgotten in a filthy, dirty peacock land as hostage to a group of birds,” Candela said. “I think that is more than unfair.”

Commissioners unanimously agreed to amend the city’s charter to allow for trapping and removal of excess peacocks. The proposal was introduced by Commissioner Ken Russell in October. It seeks to lessen the peacock population by using a humane management plan implemented by Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

The commission did not specify how many peacocks would be relocated to another location, or when it would happen.

Russell said the birds have caused tremendous property damage. He showed the crowd a photo of a city employee’s Toyota Prius that had deep scratches on all sides. He said the peacocks see their reflection on the side of the car, mistake it for a rival and attack with their beaks.

“When it came to property damage that’s when I knew we had to take some kind of action here to regulate,” Russell said.

The plan in Rancho Palos Verdes has helped residents and birds coexist much better now that excess peacocks are trapped and relocated to refuges where they can squawk, scream and mate all night if they wish, the newspaper reported.

Not everyone in North Grove agrees that the birds need to be removed. Some residents said they enjoy their colorful plumage and the neighborhood oddity. But many feel the peacocks are dangerous and diminish the quality of life in the neighborhood, the Herald reported.

There are about 60 to 80 peacocks in an area of 190 homes in the Bay Heights area of the Grove, said Nancy Benovaich, president of the neighborhood association. And they’ve spread into other areas of Miami. She’s been working on a solution for years.

The peacocks traipse through gardens, eat plants and squawk aggressively during mating season, residents told the commission.

“I got to the point where I recorded the squawking and the screaming and I put it on someone’s answering service,” Benovaich said. “And they said ‘my god, I can’t believe this.’ And I said imagine it at 4 o’clock in the morning.”

“Can you imagine that?” she asked the commission. “We need some help.”