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Peacocks Roam Free Despite the Complaints : La Canada Council Sides With Bird Lovers, Decides Against Trapping

January 30, 1986|THERESA WALKER | Times Staff Writer

The love of peacocks has prevailed in La Canada Flintridge.

The City Council decided last week against trapping and removing some of the exotic birds that roam freely in a neighborhood just north of Angeles Crest Highway near Gould Canyon.

Some residents complained that, though the birds may be beautiful, they are also noisy, dirty and destructive. One man even brought to the council meeting a tape recording of a peacock calling for his mate in the night. It was a high screech that he said makes it impossible for him to sleep.

The council members were not moved by the arguments or the recording. They rejected a city staff recommendation to allow the Los Angeles County agricultural commissioner's office to set traps and relocate some of the birds outside La Canada Flintridge.

"People are asking us to play God," Councilman O. Warren Hillgren said. "It's not in the city's role to say how many are too many and how many are too few."

The flock of peafowl is estimated by residents at 40 to 100 birds. La Canada Flintridge is one of several areas in Southern California where the exotic birds from India roam wild. Other flocks are in Mission Viejo, Anaheim Hills and Palos Verdes Estates.

The debate in La Canada Flintridge lacked the acrimony of the continuing battle in Palos Verdes Estates, where poisoning was suspected after nine birds died in November. Still, residents of La Canada Flintridge streets such as Vista Le Jana Lane, Bigbriar Way and Harter Lane--which has become known as "Peacock Alley"--argued that the number of peafowl has gotten out of hand, making them an intolerable nuisance.

Homeowner Richard DeGrey complained of bird droppings and noise. "They're very messy," he said.

Although the staff recommendation to trap the birds was on the council agenda, it was shelved without a formal vote. No council member thought it warranted a motion. The council, however, was in favor of keeping track of the complaints about peacocks.

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