Peacock invasion that’s got village in a total f lap
‘Brazen pests’ bring misery after their numbers boom
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