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California County Bans The Feeding Of Peacocks In East Pasadena

NOEL KING, HOST:

People in parts of Southern California are divided over some of their neighbors.

(SOUNDBITE OF NBC NEWS BROADCAST)

PETER SALTER: It was a very quiet neighborhood until they arrived.

KING: That's Peter Salter (ph). He lives in East Pasadena, where most mornings, feral peacocks wake up the neighborhood.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Salter told NBC News the birds are a menace. But not all his neighbors agree. Some see them as sort of pets. They name them, call for them. They even feed them.

KING: Texas A&M University Professor Jessica Yorzinski says that is part of the problem. She studied peafowl in their native India and also feral populations here in the U.S.

JESSICA YORZINSKI: Here, they tend to be pretty bold. But in their native habitat, it was very difficult to get close to them.

MARTIN: She says the birds tend to be fearful of people unless those people are feeding them.

YORZINSKI: When they have an abundant amount of food, that is a cue to them that they should be reproducing a lot because the resources are high.

MARTIN: So the extra food leads to extra chicks. And Yorzinski says having more babies can make the peafowl more territorial.

YORZINSKI: Once they decide that a certain area is their home, they probably aren't going to leave unless they're forced out.

KING: And so the LA County Board of Supervisors has moved to ban feeding peafowl. They have a couple of months to draft an ordinance, which will then be reviewed.

MARTIN: But the birds may have the last word.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEAFOWL HONKING)

MARTIN: Yorzinski says mating season ends in about a month. So the cocksure peafowl may calm their feathers before the ban goes into effect.

(SOUNDBITE OF NIFTY EARTH'S "PINECREST") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.