A long-awaited public hearing on the future of the city's peafowl flocks will be held by the City Council at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at City Hall.
Years of controversy over the birds, who were brought to the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the 1920s, have pitted residents who believe the birds add to the color of community life against those who find a them noisy, messy nuisance. A citizens committee in May recommended that the peafowl be preserved and protected on public and private property, but a dissenting committee member said the bird population--67, according to the committee--should be thinned and its growth controlled.
Some council members said a month ago that residents annoyed by the birds on their property should be able to have them trapped by the Southern California Humane Society and removed. It was proposed that trapped birds be taken to city parks, but City Manager Gordon Siebert told the council last week that this would not be practical because "birds are territorial and would tend to return to property where they are trapped within half a day." He is recommending that trapped birds be removed from the city "up to a limited number."
Siebert said neither of the two flocks should be allowed to drop below 10 birds, but the council asked Siebert to consider an alternative that would allow residents "still having concerns with peafowl" to trap birds even if a flock is down to 10.
Raymond L. Winters, chairman of the peafowl committee, said the flocks could be destroyed unless there are controls on the number and sex of birds trapped and removed from the city. "Trapping by its nature attracts the birds, and that's why I call it the black hole," he said. "The council does not understand the concept that whatever the number of a flock in a given area, they must be free to roam and share the habitat." Winters said if a flock is to be kept at a certain size, birds cannot be allowed to be trapped if they wander into another area.