Nobody Knows What to Do With Miami-Dade's Nuisance Peacocks

Like a group of teenagers playing hooky, they roam the streets hooting and hollering, trespassing in backyards and having sex in inappropriate places. Their strength is in numbers, and these peacocks roll deep.

"They’re beautiful animals, and in the beginning, they’re nice," Coconut Grove resident Danny Mugnai says. And then comes the but: "But they really are a nuisance, and they’re going to get overpopulated, if they’re not already. They yell at all times of the day; they go on cars and scratch the roofs. There was a guy who had a Ferrari, and they scratched the whole car."

In an item that can be classified only as #floridaproblems, county commissioners passed a resolution last week asking the mayor’s office to come up with a solution. In Miami-Dade, it’s legal to trap peacocks if they’re on your private property, but after that, there doesn’t seem to be anyplace to relocate them legally.

"That’s the quandary," says Commissioner Xavier Suarez, who placed the item on the agenda.

An Animal Services spokeswoman says neither her department nor the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will respond to calls about nuisance peafowl (the proper name of the species; the word "peacock" refers to a male) because the birds aren’t in violation of any code.

FWC prohibits the release of nonnative species such as peafowl into the wild, so a property owner would have to find a facility willing to accept the birds. New Times was unable to identify any such facility in the state.

Of course, not everyone minds visits from their neighborhood peacocks — a handful of Grove residents defend the birds as a beautiful and unique part of the area, and the Village of El Portal has practically worked them into its branding.

But others say the situation has gotten out of hand.

"I have seen at least two near-rear-end collisions on 22nd because of peacocks. They are endangering public safety and, in the absence of natural enemies, will continue to proliferate," one resident tells the Coconut Grove Grapevine. "Some mornings it's like a Hitchcock film," another comments.

Mugnai, who grew up in the Grove, says he believes the problem has grown worse over the past couple of years.

"They’re multiplying exponentially. They don’t really have a natural predator, and that’s really the problem," he says.

While on the phone with New Times, Mugnai interrupts himself to share what he sees on the drive home. "There are 30 of them right here in front of me," he says. 

He pauses and then adds, "The issue is, people love these animals. I don’t want to kill the animals — I just don’t want them in my backyard."