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La Cañada residents cry foul over roaming peacocks

November 28, 2011
(Raul Roa/Staff…)

La Cañada Flintridge residents fed up with a roaming flock of peacocks will have to cope with the colorful 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 flowerbeds.

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 Foothill (210) Freeway.

A few years ago, La Cañada officials adopted a plan to keep the flock of peacocks 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 made their voices heard on the issue during a City Council meeting last week said the flock — about 25 birds strong and largely centered around Haskell Street and Vista Lejana Lane — needs to be removed.

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“We were here first, not the birds. And I hope we have some sort of rights,” El Vago resident Todd Meeker said, 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 the impact of the birds was being overstated and that the community needs to co-exist 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 that while the current flock size remains larger than intended, the overall numbers have decreased since the management program was implemented.

He asked residents not to feed the birds because it encourages the flock to grow out of proportion and disrupts efforts to trap and relocate excess birds.

And Councilwoman Laura Olhasso said that while she sympathizes with residents who want the birds removed and is open to altering the plan, the city would give the management plan at least 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 peacocks,” she said. “We’re trying to find the happy medium on an issue [where] there isn’t really a happy medium.”

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

Twitter: @ValleySunDan

Photo: A peacock wanders around the outside of a home last year on Haskell and El Vago streets in La Cañada Flintridge. Credit: Raul Roa/Times Community News

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