Free-roaming Miami peacocks face kidnapping after city law eases

The Miami-Dade Commission voted 5-4 to relax current laws protecting peacocks, meaning the birds could soon leave some South Florida neighborhoods.

Some people love birds; others hate that they become what is considered “the plight of peacocks”, but long ago the city took steps to ensure the birds were not harmed in any way. City Council’s latest decision will allow individual towns to get rid of it – if they do so humanely and receive approval first.

“I don’t think anyone is interested in a peacock purge,” commissioner Raquel Regalado, who presented the article, said in a statement emailed to Newsweek. “They’ve become iconic to Miami-Dade. But the law we passed 20 years ago had unintended consequences that tied everyone’s hands. What we’re doing now is empowering cities to propose the best human management protocols that work for their neighborhoods.”

The new section allows individual towns to opt out of the 20-year-old law, according to the Associated Press, which prohibits anyone from taking a peacock.

In this case, “take” means take, attempt to take, chase, assault, capture or kill peacocks, their nests or eggs, by any means whatsoever, whether or not such actions result in possession of peacocks or their nests or eggs,” the ordinance says.

In a statement to Newsweek provided by Regalado’s office, any prior violation was subject to a $500 fine.

Regalado’s office said Newsweek birds have no natural predators in Miami-Dade, so over the past 20 years some neighborhoods have seen bird numbers increase. The new element will allow individual cities to develop their own suppression methods.

The Miami-Dade Commission has voted on a new item that allows individual cities to develop their peacock removal methods. Above, peacocks and peach trees gather in a resident’s driveway on June 8, 2021 in Arcadia, California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

However, residents of some areas have learned to live with birds.

“They’re almost part of the community,” said commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, who represents Palmetto Bay, which has designated itself a bird sanctuary for the AP. “I know our residents lose their minds when someone hurts one of these peacocks.”

Some residents adore the colorful birds, while others complain that the peacocks are loud, often “screaming[ing] rooftops at 3 a.m.,” according to NPR, are destructive, destroy cars and property, and are aggressive, especially during mating season.

Dr. James Dean, a wildlife trapper, told NPR that even a man’s new three-day-old car was destroyed by a male peacock during mating season.

“If you have a dark-colored vehicle,” says Dr. Dean, “they will attack the vehicle because they see the reflection. And they think it’s another man taking over. And they just start attacking it. peck and destroy a car.”

Most trappers won’t take care of the birds at all, NPR added, with one man describing them as “looking like ninjas, able to jump over houses.”

In 2020, the Miami City Commission voted unanimously to trap and remove some of the birds, according to NPR.

However, the option of moving the birds is not always easy. Newsweek spoke to the Regalado office and learned that the county had already looked into the matter, but finding a sanctuary to take all the peacocks was difficult.

Additionally, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission prohibits the release of non-native species into the wild, according to FloridaPolitics.com. This means that the only solution is to either kill the peacocks or find another place to put them.

Although no one knows the exact number of peacocks living in the South Florida town of Coconut Grove, the filmmakers of “Peafowl Predicament: Friend or ‘Foul’? University of Miami [email protected].

peacock miami florida
In this photo from April 27, 2017, a pack of peacocks stroll through an intersection in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. Peacocks may soon be out of the way in some Miami-Dade neighborhoods after the county commission agrees to relax a law protecting the birds. The 20-year-old law still protects peacocks from harm, but commissioners agreed on Feb. 1, 2022 to allow cities to opt out of the rules if they present appropriate plans to humanely remove the birds that divide areas where they are not sought. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP, file)
Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

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