La Cañada Flintridge residents fed up with roaming peacocks and peahens will have to cope with the birds for at least another year after the City Council declined to take a more aggressive approach to reducing their numbers.
Some residents say the large birds cause a mess with their droppings, never mind their loud squawking and damage to gardens and flower beds.
The argument over what to do with the peafowl dates back decades after they were left to fend for themselves during the large-scale redevelopment of La Cañada in the 1960s to make way for the 210 Freeway.
A few years ago, La Cañada officials adopted a plan to keep the peafowl population at three males and six females, with the excess birds being trapped and relocated to private property in more rural areas.
But about half of the dozen residents who spoke on the issue during a City Council meeting last week said that the peafowl — about 25 birds strong and largely centered around Haskell Street and Vista Lejana Lane — need to be removed.
“We were here first, not the birds. And I hope we have some sort of rights,” said El Vago Street resident Todd Meeker, adding that he removes hundreds of pounds of droppings from his property every month.
Despite the frustration, the birds do have their supporters. Brianna Horwitz said that disruptions caused by the birds were being overstated and that the community needs to coexist with wildlife.
“I grew up in La Cañada and these birds are a part of my childhood, my memories,” she said. “They’re harmless, and they’re quiet, they really don’t do anything wrong — and they’re beautiful.”
Councilman Donald Voss said although the current number of peafowl remains larger than intended, there are fewer since the management program was implemented.
He asked residents not to feed the peacocks and peahens because it encourages them to grow out of proportion and disrupts efforts to trap and relocate excess birds.
Councilwoman Laura Olhasso said although she sympathized with residents who wanted the birds removed and was open to altering the plan, the city would give the management plan another year to better gauge the problem “and then have the same kind of discussion again next year.”
“I don’t think the city is invested one way or the other” in peafowl, she said. “We’re trying to find the happy medium on an issue [where] there isn’t really a happy medium.”