While the City of Surrey has “successfully” captured and rehomed nine peafowl, bylaw officers estimate there are still dozens of birds remaining in the Sullivan Heights neighbourhood.
Kim Marosevich, acting manager of public safety operations, said the city is continuing to work with the residents and its contracted biologist on trapping efforts. One the birds are captured, they are then taken the to Surrey Animal Resource Centre.
Marosevich said it’s “tough to be completely accurate” in estimating the remaining number of peafowl, but she said officers have suggested there are between 35 and 40 birds remaining.
After rehoming the first nine birds, Marosevich said there have been two more trapping attempts but both have been unsuccessful.
“We’re kind of back to the drawing board of ‘How are we going to do this? Do we need to look at other methods?’”
When it comes to capturing the birds, Marosevich said it’s important for people to remember the peacocks fly and roost in trees, which makes them harder to trap compared to animals such as feral cats that are “Earth bound.”
“And they’re not little,” Marosevich added.
The peacocks, she said, also start to “anticipate attempts in trapping.”
“Contrary to what some people believe – that expression ‘bird brain’ – they don’t anticipate that the birds are very savvy, and yet, we know from a colleague in Florida who’s had a trapping program for quite some time, the birds in the community actually started to recognize his vehicle,” she said.
“It became a matter of him having to rotate vehicles, rotate uniforms because his entrance into the cul-de-sac, where they were having all of their problems, all of the birds would disappear. They’d all fly up in a tree.”
Because of those challenges, Marosevich said, the city knew it would need an expert in navigating challenges such trapping, rehoming and providing support and training for the officers.
Back in June 2018, the city said approved a relocation plan that included trapping and relocating an estimated 100 peacocks.
The plan began with the city first eliminating the peacocks’ food source, “to ensure the trapping program is successful.”
The 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 also installed signage, alerting residents and visitors alike of new rules.
Marosevich said another challenge is that the bylaw officers can’t enter private property, and “not every resident is keen on the birds being relocated.”
She said it’s about educating people that capturing and relocating the peacocks are “in the best interest of the birds.”
With files from Amy Reid