Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Here’s how you can
discourage noisy peacocks

Question: I live in Hawaii Kai. There is a peacock that's been coming around our neighborhood and making loud noises early and late in the day. Recently, it flew onto our roof late at night, making a racket. We found out that our neighbors are feeding the peacock, and I guess that's why it's coming around more. Our major concern is that birds like that carry disease, plus leave their feces around. Also, if people stop feeding the peacock, I worry about it getting aggressive. We're concerned about health and safety issues. We've called the Hawaiian Humane Society, the police and different government agencies, but they all say there is nothing they can do. What can we do?

Answer: It's true that if you want the peacock captured, you'll either have to do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. And you'll need a state-issued permit, because it's considered a wild bird.

For concerns about peacocks, the contact point is the state Department of Land & Natural Resources. On Oahu the contact person is David Smith, Oahu wildlife manager for the department's Division of Forestry & Wildlife, who can be reached at 973-9786.

Smith's first, emphatic warning to everyone is, "Don't feed them. That's a major problem."

Peacocks can be found in residential neighborhoods all over Oahu, including Hawaii Kai, Maunawili and Kaneohe, he noted.

There was a big flap in Makaha Valley last year when some residents of Makaha Valley Towers wanted to hire a federal agency to capture and kill many of the peacocks that were driving people crazy with their noise. However, that plan was eventually dropped.

In 2002, four peacocks in Kaneohe were found shot to death with pellet guns. That made the CrimeStoppers list because shooting an animal with a pellet gun is considered a crime.

If you want to do anything to a peacock legally, you need to get a wildlife-control permit from Smith's office.

Depending on what you do, "the permit will allow you to kill them, if need be, trap, relocate, euthanize," he said.

However, "I try to encourage people to work it out, because no one really wants to harm these birds," Smith said.

His first bit of advice is to talk to the neighbors who may be feeding the peacock, explaining that the birds are a nuisance.

"For the sake of the birds, request that they quit feeding, because it's the feeding that keeps them hanging around."

Combined with that, find some nonlethal way of harassing the birds, such as squirting them with a hose and basically making them uncomfortable, Smith said.

"What happens with a lot of these nuisance birds is that once they get habituated to hanging around urban areas, they will continue to do so" unless it's uncomfortable for them, he said.

If eliminating their food source and harassment don't work, euthanization might have to be the last resort.

Typically, once you capture a bird, the recommendation is to take it to the Hawaiian Humane Society to be euthanized, Smith said.


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