BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – What started with a couple of beautiful peacocks many years ago has turned into a flock of at least 50 large birds that rule Hillside Terrace in Brandon, Florida.
They’re loud. Very loud. And messy. Very messy.
They walk inside homes, on top of homes, perch in trees and cross the street whenever they please.
Some residents have gotten used to the birds and put up with behavior that is really amped up this time of year, during mating season. But a growing group of other residents – those who live near the epicenter of a yard these peacocks seem to call home – are fed up.
“And we have to navigate constantly through our yard just to avoid dragging it into our house,” Lindsey Reed told WFLA. “So I really believe it’s been a health hazard.”
Reed says she wears earplugs to try to sleep at night but nothing drowns out the sounds of peacocks partying all night.
Reed and her neighbor Fred Woodring have even found peacocks inside their homes.
“I left the door open and they hopped the fence and walked in,” Reed said.
“They do their business in the yard, along the house, on the roof, all the noise,” Woodring added.
It’s so noisy, Lauren Tanner wants to sell her house.
“We didn’t really know about them when we first moved in, how loud they get during the season. Now they’re up at night and I got about six hours of sleep at night due to the noise of them,” Tanner said.
The neighborhood as a whole is divided on the peacock issue. Some want the birds gone, and others love them. On some streets, the birds are a pleasant distraction from life. But on Hillside Terrace, near one house that has become the epicenter for the peacocks, some residents say they’re about to lose their minds.
A spokesman for Hillsborough County tells WFLA that there is no ordinance that prohibits the birds because no one claims them as pets. If they don’t have an owner, code enforcement can’t force anyone to contain them. Or relocate them.
A spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Commission says it can’t help either because peacocks aren’t considered wildlife.
There may not be anyone in the neighborhood who “owns” these birds, but there is one man who has what he calls a “sanctuary” for the birds in his backyard, complete with a big bag of chicken feed. He said he rehabs hurt birds and doesn’t have a problem with the noise, pointing out that they are much quieter after mating season.
The county says even that doesn’t violate code.
That’s not good enough for some residents who want at least some of the birds safely relocated.
“I don’t want to hurt them,” Reed said. “There are just too many in the same spot.”
Even residents who like the birds suggest a compromise.
“I think if we moved or relocated, you know, some of the females, I think some of these males would wander off, mating season and it would reduce the population a little bit here,” Dean Rubino said.