Submitted by Susan Hardee Steger
For approximately 50 years, peacocks also known as peafowls, have roamed Amelia Island’s south-end. It is said in the 1960’s, the late Sandy McArthur, former state senator and his wife Mable, brought the birds to their expansive residential property located near the canopy drive on Buccaneer Trail. The peacocks seemed to add a unique character to the neighbor. As a warning to motorists, Nassau County even placed peacock crossing signs on Scott Road.
With the peacock population increasing, some neighborhood residents have taken matters into their own hands. Traps have captured all but two of approximately 25 peacocks, says Pam Bell one of many concerned neighbors. It is the way that the removal was handled that is upsetting to Bell who does not believe “a few [neighbors] should make decisions for many.”
According to Bell, Nassau County officials said the county had nothing to do with the capture and made it clear they want nothing to do with the controversy. A petition drive is underway to bring the peacocks back to Amelia.
Various individual and group Facebook sites are active as individuals communicate various opinions on the issue. One Facebook group formed in the last few days, “Amelia Island Peacocks”, claims 916 members. Its Facebook page notes “Keep Amelia Cocky, Save the South Island Peacocks” t-shirts, yard signs, and coffee cups are for sale with profits going to help the South Island Peacocks.
The peacock population growth over the last two years seems to be the major problem according to an Action News Jacksonville report. Other complaints range from damage to cars, droppings, and noise.
January 6, 2014 1:10 p.m.