Environment & Science

Rancho Palos Verdes plans to allow trapping, relocating peafowl

Benjamin Brayfield and Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Responding to a rise in peafowl population and resident complaints of peacock and peahen noise and damage to property, Rancho Palos Verdes is re-implementing a Peafowl Management Plan that would allow for trapping and relocating 150 birds to maintain 2000's population level — and they're also considering a bird contraceptive.

A city census of the peafowl population showed that the Rancho Palos Verdes birds’ numbers grew by 114, from 165 birds in 2011-12 to an average of 276 birds in 2014.

Rancho Palos Verdes residents have mixed emotions about the peafowl (a term for the male and female birds), several of whom have been killed or injured in recent years amidst discontent from local residents. KPCC interviewed a few locals in June 2014 about the peafowl that are known to nest in trees, walk in streets and on roofs and loudly squawk, particularly during mating season.

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Wildlife Services, which previously performed peafowl trapping for Rancho Palos Verdes, will place large traps intended to hold six to eight birds at a time on private properties the birds frequent, with the agreement of property owners, as well as on city property.

“There is an ordinance that prohibits people from sabotaging these cages, so it’s just about public education and raising awareness and working together with the community,” Ara Mihranian, deputy director of the Rancho Palos Verdes Community Development Department, told KPCC.

Once trapped, a bird will be relocated within 24 hours to an approved home outside the area.

“The city wants to make sure the bird is being relocated to an appropriate home, so there’s a screening process that’s involved to make sure the property it’s being taken to, which is off the Palos Verdes Peninsula, can accommodate the bird, and that the property owner has some knowledge in the area of aviary, and can provide the food and water and acreage for the peafowl to thrive,” said Mihranian.

Trapping likely won't begin until mid-September, Mihranian said, since Rancho Palos Verdes needs to identify and reach agreements with properties where the traps can be set and where the birds will be relocated.

OvoControl, a bird contraceptive, is also being considered as a possible way to handle the peafowl population.

“The concept of using this OvoControl came up recently with the city council and came up again Tuesday night,” said Mihranian. “The city is going to do some more research and come back next year and decide whether they want to pursue this alternative or not.”

Rancho Palos Verdes’s Peafowl Management Plan first took effect in 2001 after the city enlisted a UC Davis doctor to study peafowl behavior and population and make recommendations regarding humane population control, the city notes in an online document of its plan. In 2001, 50 birds were recommended for trapping and relocation, but some of the traps were sabotaged, resulting in just 19 trappings.

The plan was put in effect again from Aug. 2009 to Jan. 2010 in the Vista Grande neighborhood of Rancho Palos Verdes, where 71 birds were trapped.

“The plan that the council adopted Tuesday night is more detailed,” said Mihranian. “It not only focuses on trapping and focuses on the different stages and protocol, but it also describes deterrent measures and things that residents can do to help minimize the effects of peafowl in the neighborhood.”

Future peafowl census numbers will help determine whether or not Rancho Palos Verdes will implement the Peafowl Management Plan again. 

The full plan, which includes measures residents can take to deter peafowl, can be found below: