One of the many peacocks that reside in Surrey’s Sullivan Heights neighbourhood. (Photo: Amy Reid)

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

The City of Surrey in June approved a relocation plan that includes trapping and relocating an estimated 100 peacocks in Sullivan Heights, but that trapping has yet to commence.

“Since the end of July, we’ve really warmed up our phased approach,” said Jas Rehal, Surrey’s manager of public safety operations.

“First, we needed to eliminate the feed source, to ensure the trapping program is successful. Previously people were pulling into side streets, taking pictures and feeding the peacocks. That’s been limited. There’s next to none now.”

Complaints about the peacocks in that neighbourhood go back to 2010 after a previous homeowner left them behind in 2006.

Over the years, some in the community have developed a fondness for the birds, while others find them to be a nuisance. In recent months there have been reports of the birds attacking cars.

Things came to a boiling point on April 30, when a frustrated homeowner was fined $1,000 after cutting down a tree known to be a home to the peacocks, saying the city’s inaction left him no choice.

The situation got even more dramatic when the city said a bylaw officer was allegedly assaulted over a peacock complaint in early June.

RCMP confirmed they were investigating the incident, in the 6200-block of 150th Street on June 4, which is alleged to have happened when a bylaw officer was following up on a complaint that someone had been feeding peacocks.

See also: Surrey bylaw officer assaulted over peacock complaint, city says

See also: Surrey man says he illegally cut peacock tree out of desperation

See also: Surrey looks to Florida, Hawaii to solve peacock problem

The city’s recently approved plan means residents who feed or house the birds will now face stiff fines: Anyone found in violation can be slapped with a $250 fine, and anyone found to be keeping a peafowl could face a fine of $450 per bird, and the bird would be seized.

The city has also recently installed signage, alerting residents and visitors alike of new rules.

Removing that food source for the birds has made a noticeable difference in the area, according to Rehal.

“The peafowl have gone higher up now, they’re not on six or seven homes like they used to be,” he said. “And I mean higher up in height, in the trees. Before, because there was so much feed source around they were hanging around fences, sidewalks, they were roaming around. Before, you’d see a handful of peacocks at any given time. Now, you have to actually look for them.”

That’s been achieved, according to Rehal, by the increased bylaw presence in the area and now, the relocation plan is set to launch in early September.

The city’s plan — which involves capturing and moving the birds to Surrey Animal Resource Centre, then adopting them out from there — was approved by council in late June.

A certified biologist is to be hired to oversee the action plan, and “humane traps” will also be provided to owners, upon request.

“While the community continues to be divided on the issue of peafowl, staff recognize the negative impacts to safety and property caused by the nuisance peafowl,” Rehal wrote in June.

“Staff appreciate some residents want them to remain as an aesthetic value, but a residential area is not an appropriate place for peafowl. Tensions continue to rise in the area, and staff receive a high amount of daily calls, emails and complaints.

“The primary issues raised by residents have been related to noise, excrement, damage to property and aggressive behaviour towards domestic pets and children.”

Other communities with peacock problems have struggled to resolve them.

Longboat Key, Florida began a peafowl removal program in January 2016. In a report, Surrey staff wrote those efforts were “incomplete.”

“The population (while much smaller) is growing again,” the reported noted. “They have used both contract trappers and staff to manage their efforts.”

Ranchos Palos Verdes, California began a peafowl removal process in August 2015 and currently have “small pockets of remaining peafowl in several neighbourhoods that are removed on a complaint basis by the Los Angeles Zoo,” Surrey staff note, adding, “they have intensively resourced the issue through their Code Enforcement Department with additional staff and by working collaboratively with the Los Angeles Zoo.”

Australia, meantime, is developing a national strategy to address feral peafowl populations which may be adopted this summer, Rehal notes.

“(Australia’s) strategy includes a variety of potential resolutions that can be applied in individual locations – for example: stabilizing the population by removing all reproductive peafowl, culling the entire population or leaving the peafowl as is.”

See more: Mama peacock lays four eggs on Surrey doorstep

Just Posted

Crime Stoppers urges Lower Mainland residents to check these 9 safety items every night

Home security tips demonstrated at Cloverdale house on Wednesday

Hope raises almost $700 for Tillicum Centre

By purchasing art on display locally, community raised $690 for the adult centre

Calling all Fraser Canyon golfers: it’s time to tee into great summer savings

BC Lung Association is back to selling its Golf Savings Book

River Monsters attract nearly 300 swimmers to their two-day meet

This was the third year for the now-annual event

Harrison Hot Springs to consider single-use plastics ban

Village staff will come back to council with a report on what a possible ban could look like

VIDEO: B.C. First Nation plans to launch legal challenge after Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan says he’ll continue to defend the B.C. coast

Men caught with illegal gun near Burnaby elementary school

They were sitting in a parked car near Cameron Elementary

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s ‘Infidelity Hotlist’

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Canada’s first dementia village close to opening

Langley project to provide home-like surroundings for between $83,400 and $93,600 a year

Unexpected snow blankets the Okanagan Connector

As of 6:50 a.m. DriveBC cameras displayed surprise snowfall on highway

Most Read