Pea­cock in­va­sion that’s got vil­lage in a to­tal f lap

‘Brazen pests’ bring mis­ery af­ter their num­bers boom

Daily Mail - - News - By Chris Brooke

It sounds like a pea­cock and bull story – the vil­lage that has been over­run by birds.

But it is all too true for the res­i­dents of Fin­ning­ley.

For decades, pea­cocks and pea­hens have been a colour­ful and harm­less part of life in the pic­turesque vil­lage.

But a sud­den pop­u­la­tion boom has changed all that. now the birds, along with their chicks, stalk the streets and pester res­i­dents with all kinds of mis­chief.

Home­own­ers com­plain that they de­stroy flow­ers and veg­eta­bles, climb on to green­houses, scratch cars, dam­age roof tiles, squat on drive­ways – and de­posit drop­pings ev­ery­where.

In one cul- de- sac a ‘pea­cock watch’ scheme is in op­er­a­tion so that the birds are chased away – oc­ca­sion­ally by res­i­dents in dress­ing gowns – as soon as they are spot­ted. the pea­cock cri­sis has split the vil­lage near don­caster in south York­shire and led to an ecol­o­gist writ­ing a re­port for the coun­cil on the is­sue. How­ever, a cull has been ruled out by coun­cil chiefs.

Be­fore 2013 there were only six pea­cocks min­gling with ducks in the vil­lage, which was recorded in the domes­day Book of 1086. But con­sul­tant natasha Estrada counted 22 in her 2019 cen­sus and the num­ber is ex­pected to ex­pand rapidly in next year’s breed­ing sea­son.

she found 37 out of 54 peo­ple who com­pleted ques­tion­naires were in favour of keep­ing the colour­ful char­ac­ters.

But when the Mail vis­ited Fin­ning­ley yes­ter­day, many lo­cals were sick of what they re­gard as ‘brazen pests’. Builder Alf Mell, 80, said: ‘there were eight of them in my gar­den this morn­ing. If you’ve got veg­eta­bles they will go for those and the drop­pings leave such a sticky mess.’

Mr Mell said in spring­time males will of­ten stay on a drive­way all day while mak­ing a ‘screech­ing’ mat­ing call. He added: ‘Peo­ple like the ideas of pea­cocks, as they fit the image of a quintessen­tial English vil­lage, but they can cause a lot of dam­age.’

Harold sales, 92, has had to pro­tect his green­house with barbed wire be­cause of the mess the birds make on the glass. He said: ‘I can’t put any young plants out be­cause they come round and peck at them.’

Mr sales said the pea­cocks were in­tro­duced by a farmer in 1977 but they have caused a sig­nif­i­cant nui­sance only re­cently af­ter num­bers in­creased.

Ro­mana France, 71, has be­come used to ‘shoo­ing’ the birds away when they ar­rive. she said: ‘they dig things up and are a real nui­sance.’

A par­ish coun­cil meet­ing to de­cide what to do will take place next tues­day. Coun­cil chair­man Richard John­son said a cull was out of the ques­tion, stress­ing: ‘It is not stated as an op­tion.’

‘Dan­ger’: Harold Sales, 92, and barbed wire on green­house Peashock: One of the birds swoops on gar­den ‘Ini­tially we thought it was a bit of a pest but we’ve grown to like it’ Peck­ing or­der: Group of pea­cocks on the pa­tio of builder Alf Mell, 80, and, right, one wan­ders next to the duck pond in Fin­ning­ley

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