A Colorful Conundrum: the Grove’s notorious peacocks

Love ’em or hate ’em, peacocks (also called peafowls) have taken over the Grove.

On East Shore Drive near Vizcaya, Lia Cheung recently woke up to a pile of peacock poop on her front lawn and her destroyed, half-eaten garden. 

“They ate all the plants from my mom’s vegetable garden!” says Cheung. “I swear, these animals are not native.”

Cheung says the peacocks love munching on eggplant, tomatoes and basil leaves. Her mom re-plants the fruits and veggies in a makeshift garden beside their home, but it never ends well.

A block down, the birds also defecate all over Joe Louissant’s lawn. They squawk and make mating noises that keep him up all night. “It’s tiring,” he says. “I have to wake up early for work and I can’t even sleep because these damn birds are always making noise!”

“They even gather, nest and sleep in our trees!” Louissant adds. 

With their iridescent plumage and regal displays, these birds have become synonymous with the neighborhood’s distinctive charm. As their numbers continue to grow, the once-beloved animals have become a nuisance to many residents, and the City can’t do much about it. 

In 2001, Miami-Dade County passed a law protecting peacocks. This law bans killing and capturing them. 

In February 2022, County commissioners agreed to loosen this 20-year-old law. While this law continues to protect peacocks inhabiting the Grove, residents were provided with an alternative to relocate peafowls from their property. In addition to this, the County also passed an amendment permitting individual cities to establish their own mitigation laws for these creatures.

“You can’t just release them into the wild,” says Diego Abreu, district director in Commissioner Sabina Covo’s office. “If they’re on your property, you can only remove them humanely into an animal sanctuary, but there aren’t many of those available. ” 

The City doesn’t keep track of the creatures, either.

“Unfortunately, there is no peacock census,” says Abreu. “But from personal experience, I can say that they are everywhere.”

Flora Beal, public affairs administrator of Miami-Dade County Animal Services, says they cannot relocate or get rid of an aggressive flock of peacocks.

“We only bring injured peacocks into our care,” she says. “We also work with bird sanctuaries like Pelican Harbor Seabird Station.” 

While many Grove residents hate the pavo cristatus, some don’t. Vanessa Novakovic adores them.

“I keep hearing these pointless complaints,” she says. “I think the homeowners that dislike them need to move out of Coconut Grove because the peacocks will never leave!”

The City of Miami has yet to establish its own mitigation plans to control peafowl. 

“These birds should be in a sanctuary, not on our front lawns,” Louissant says.

This story was produced by a Caplin News student in conjunction with the Coconut Grove Spotlight.

Daniella Hakim is a junior at Florida International University majoring in Digital Communication and Media with a Minor in Marketing. She looks forward to pursuing her passion for writing as a journalist and novelist.