Scott Road Peacocks – The other side of the story

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An opinion submitted by Irene Basore

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Scott Road peacocks take over front porch.

Residents of Amelia Island met January 22, with Nassau County Attorney David Hallman and Nassau County Manager Ted Selby to discuss their rights in relation to a draft Bill Relating to Peafowl on the South End of Amelia Island, which was reviewed at a Nassau County Commissioner Meeting last night (January 21, 2014). The Bill (copy below) will now be turned over to the local state representatives, Janet Atkins and Aaron Bean as one of the agenda items at their delegation meeting on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. in the Nassau Board of County Commissioners meeting room. According to Mr. Hallman and Mr. Selby the County’s file on this issue is closed and they are no longer involved. It is a state issue.

A lot has been said about the Peacocks to date. Fifty years ago when they were introduced to this neighborhood on Amelia Island the terrain was very rural. Now there are four sub-divisions and many homes not part of any subdivision. The opponents to keeping the peacocks in their residential neighborhood on Amelia Island have remained silent in some part due to the threats received from the pro-peacocks advocates. Threating calls have been recorded with the local sheriff’s office  by more than one resident and the trapper who received a threatening call against his children.  I felt so bad for the trapper. He is a young man with a wife and small children. The pro-peacock advocates threatened, on their Facebook page (Amelia Island Peacocks), his livelihood, questioned his character, his right to remain a local resident and his level of intelligence.

Porch  croppedThere is no dispute by either side that the peacocks cause damage to personal property (even the pro-peacock advocates admitted in a public news airing and in the local paper that the birds do damage). Long-time residents who were finally fed up with the car damage, home damage and walking through peafowl poo, legally hired a trapper to remove the birds to a new home in a rural area. This proposed  draft bill will eliminate the rights of the residents, in whatever area is designated under Section 1, to have the peacocks removed permanently from their neighborhood. Section 3, part 2 states we can remove them from our personal property; however, we cannot remove them from the area designated in Section 1. Which means, they will return to our personal property again and again if the area in Section 1 is defined narrowly to keep the ‘problem’ where it now exists.

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My husband and I have lived here permanently for 11 years and have owned our home since 1992. We didn’t care one way or the other about the peacocks even 6 months ago because it wasn’t our problem as they seldom came onto our property. Now that there are over thirty of them, because they are multiplying exponentially and have no natural predators, they are roaming farther afield and have become our problem. Residents better take that into consideration, because if this Bill gets passed what you may not think is your problem today may very well be your problem tomorrow and you will have no recourse. Also, this Bill could set a precedent in the state. I have spoken with a realtor concerning the defect disclosure notification, which must be provided to a potential buyer, if there is a known problem that will affect the value of your property. It is possible that peacocks causing damage to personal property would fall into that category.

If, to make everyone happy some of the peacocks must remain in a residential neighborhood then let the individuals who do not mind having their personal property damaged take ownership of the birds and assume the responsibility and liability. Pen the birds and give the neighbors access to come and visit and feed them. Then we will all be smiling.

The rights the Jacksonville residents have (click here for news clip)  to remove the birds will be taken away if this Bill passes the state house and senate depending on how the area in Section 1 is defined. Can they discriminate against just my neighborhood?

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Draft copy of proposed bill:

CHAPTER ___
BILL NO.___

A bill to be entitled
An act relating to Nassau County related to taking of peafowl on South Amelia Island; providing an effective date.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

Taking of Peafowl prohibited on South Amelia Island:

WHEREAS, the late Florida state Senator A.G. “Sandy” McArthur introduced peafowl onto Amelia Island more than  fifty years ago on their expansive residential property located near the canopy drive on Buccaneer Trail; and
WHEREAS, the peacocks added a unique character to the neighborhood.
Section 1.  It shall be unlawful for any person to take any peafowl within the areas described as __________________________.
Section 2.  As used in this section, “take” means taking, attempting to take, hunting, molesting, capturing, or killing any peafowl, their nests or eggs, by any means, whether or not such actions result in obtaining possession of peafowl or their nests or eggs.

Section 3.    Exceptions:

1.    The prohibitions of this section shall not apply on property zoned for agricultural use and used for a bona fide agricultural purpose.

2.    Nothing in this section shall prevent a property owner from removing peafowl from his or her own property in a manner that does not physically injure the peafowl so long as the peafowl are not removed from the area described in section 1 above.

Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

 

Also see the corresponding video: FCN 7/9/2012 http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Video+of+Peacock+damage&FORM=VIRE7#view=detail&mid=357B1A11620946907518357B1A11620946907518

Editor’s Note: Irene Basore and her husband Tom  have owned their home off Scott Road on the south end of the island since 1992. He and his wife Irene moved to Amelia Island permanently in June 2003. Irene is the Director of Operations at the National Certification Commissioner for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine located in downtown Jacksonville.

January 23, 2014 4:53 p.m.

 

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20 Responses to Scott Road Peacocks – The other side of the story

  1. Pam Bell says:

    I have been in the front lines of the peafowl proponents, and appreciate this chance to address the above article and writer of it. The peafowl DO have natural predators on Amelia Island. I don’t know where the Bosore’s got their information, but that information is not correct. The peafowl family would have grown to an enormous number within the 50 years they have been present in this area, if that was going to happen, but due to the natural predators, the number of peafowl has been kept low. And, as far as real estate, I know homeowners who have actually bought in this unique area of Amelia Island BECAUSE of the peafowl– No real estate pricing problems here due to peafowl. By the way, birds do poop, for sure–even ‘regular’ birds. Shall we dispose of those, too? And, just because I like or dislike something does not give me a reason to take it away from everyone else, especially the majority of adjoining neighbors. The peafowl which are on the island have already been used in a therapeutic way for at least one child that I know of. It was amazing to watch–his being with them and getting to feed them–and his great big beaming smile. He later wrote a paper regarding his experience. Oh, and as far as the info regarding the trapper, our relationship with him is great, and things have healed over. It was rough at first, but we realized he was just doing a job he was hired to do. I and countless others have personally spoken to him. I am not sure about the Bosore’s relationship with him, though. Thank you.

  2. Pam Bell says:

    I just realize something as I looked back through the above article. The photo at the beginning of the above article is dated on August 8, 2013. This was before the peafowl(s) were trapped. In that photo, please know that the peafowl(s) are not on the property of the one that had them trapped. They are a good block away. In fact, the person that had them trapped didn’t even use his own personal property for the trapping but used another’s property with her consent. The peafowl, we discovered, had been baited to her property for a couple of weeks before the trappings took place. The peafowl do not stay just on one particular property, as they love to roam around a large area. That was what was so appalling in this whole event. The peafowl roam all the common areas in several neighborhoods. Many neighbors keep bird seed and bread and other peafowl favorites in their garages in order to feed them. Thank you.

  3. Wanda Teston James says:

    I am a life long resident of Amelia Island. I live on the North end of the island and have had the pleasure of peacocks visiting me. I was shocked last June when one showed up at my house. I did everything I could to get it to stay. I am an animal and nature lover and would welcome each and everyone of these birds to my home. No, I haven’t had to live with them on a daily bases.

    I have been to those neighborhoods. Most homes are very nice and have garages. Couldn’t you put your vehicles in the garages if you do not want the peacocks on them. Don’t cats basically do the same thing? If you have a big nice home I think you can put your big nice car in the garage. And I’m sure you all have water hoses to wash away the poo.

    The people in your video, in Arlington, could cover their cars and put a gazing ball or even a mirror out to distract the peacocks. I also saw complaints about their nesting habits somewhere. I would welcome a peahen to my yard to raise her chicks.

    I believe that the peacocks should be protected. They were here long before the complaining humans were. The birds should remain. This is a bird sanctuary, also.

  4. Wanda Hair says:

    This issue on Amelia Island has absolutely nothing to do with Jacksonville or any other part of Florida folks. We are looking at a bunch of untrue information being put out by parties that could have just talked to the neighborhood and found a solution to their problem. If I had a pretty, shiny, mirror reflecting car of the caliber that it would take to attract wildlife to see their reflection and attack it thinking they are protecting their territory from another wild bird, I would park it in my garage. This would also protect the vehicle from squirrels dropping cracked hickory nut shells, other birds poop after eating wild berries (yucky) , yellow pollen which is really abundant, salt air (we do live on a coastal island) around here and a number of other natural occurrences. Or if the landscape is the problem or maybe you don’t have a garage, go online or to your local Lowes/Home Depot and purchase a motion detecting sprinkler that would deter not just birds but also squirrels, rabbits, deer and other wildlife as well. Or we could just cut down all of our beautiful trees, trap or shoot all of our wildlife and be like South Florida or the New England states with all asphalt and concrete. Sorry for my rant, I just think there are better solutions to live peacefully with our beautiful “more native than most humans that are here birds”, the peacocks. I also believe that a lot of the information in this article written by the folks that did not, I repeat never paid the trapper for his work and does not want our island to stay as it has been for over 50 years, is correct or true. Jacksonville has lots of homes for sale, just saying. ….

  5. Britain says:

    I am a frequent visitor to Amelia Island, and a long time lover of the peacocks! I truly hope that the Fernandina Observer will share an article showcasing the positive side.

    As an “outsider”, if the peacocks have been there for over 50 years, than anyone moving to the area after knew what they were signing up for so why now? why get rid of them now?

  6. Joe Palmer says:

    Wow, talk about some incorrect information. You’re entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. So, when the writer of the above article says the peacocks have no natural predators, that is opinion, not fact. Peacocks, like all other fowl, do have natural predators. They are raccoons and dogs, which eat eggs. They are snakes, cats and birds of prey, which eat chicks and young birds. Bobcats eat adult birds. Shall I go on?

    Opinion number two is that the birds are reproducing exponentially. Again, that’s an opinion but not a fact. The birds were introduced in the area in the 1960s. In 2013, the flock numbered less than fifty. Exponentially is the wrong adverb here. The correct adverb would be slowly or minimally. And increase of a couple of dozen birds over a 50 year period is minimal. Why? Maybe the peacocks know something about birth and population control that we humans could learn from them. Or maybe it’s that those “non-existent” predators are doing their jobs.

    The last opinion voiced is the one about real estate disclosure to potential home buyers. Really? Then I guess realtors have to warn potential home buyers about Canadian geese living in nearby ponds and lakes. Talk about some bird poop. Or the known grumpy scold who lives next door and makes his neighbors’ lives miserable. Do they have to tell you that the kids on the school playground behind you get loud sometime? Nope. Nothing there. Move along. This is what’s called a red herring.

    From the letters and emails and other forms of communication I’ve seen, it would appear that the majority of folks in the community where the peacocks live are glad to have them there. I don’t see a groundswell of support from the other point of view, which tells me there are only a handful of people who don’t want the birds around. Believe me, if there were a significant number of people who were opposed to the peacocks being there and who supported their removal, we would’ve heard about them or from them by now. And that’s a fact.

  7. Rick Daily says:

    I would much rather have the peafowl come visiting, than some of our “human” neighbors!

  8. DrConcerned says:

    I appreciate the concern to have these birds as pleasure for the few. The bigger picture is that when FWC allows non-indigenous animals or species into the state of Florida there is a precedence being set that will allow ANY pro active group to begin to quietly flood Florida with all types of wildlife and plant life.
    You all seriously need to think about the good of Florida not your own selfish need.

    How about we import Russian Bore for hunting, and Mongoose for killing snakes. Oh yes and lets us not forget the Boa constrictors that are now out of control in south Florida. Does anyone remember why the Lilli pads that were brought here, because of the beautiful flower, they have now ruined many lakes and are current threats to rivers that are being over run with them.
    Are is this just another case of the noise bird gets their way?
    Really this proposal is bigger than just these birds and you.

    • Wanda Hair says:

      Can the readers know who Dr Concerned might be? I personally never put much credit in statements made under the cover of fictitious names. Almost as bad as the original writer complaining about the birds damaging their property while posting a picture of them on someone else’s porch, by the way the lady that owns the house pictured loves the birds and plans to build special “bird perches” for them so she can enjoy them more.
      Wonder if they had permission to publish a picture of someone else’s home? Happy bird watching friends of the flock!

      • Co Editor says:

        Wanda: If a photo is taken of a house from public property (street, sidewalk, etc) there is no requirement to get the owner’s permission. I did ask where the photographer was when the photo was taken.

  9. Outsider says:

    I have dealt with these peacocks for years every time I visit the island which is at least twice a year. Each time I have gotten damage to my car from the birds “fighting” my car. There is no garage in the home that I visit so there is no way of protecting my car. Last time I was there the peacock actually injured himself fighting with my car. This is called property damage and if another “person” was doing this to my car I could have them arrested for vandalism. It’s ridiculous to me the way some people are just going crazy over this issue. Good grief, they are birds that make an absolute mess! If you want to keep them, pen them in your yard and shut up about it.

  10. Joe Palmer says:

    Outsider and Drconcerned. The rest of us feel strongly enough about this to use our real names. I agree with Wanda, an alias kind of turns me off. Again, most people like the birds. A few don’t.

    • Co Editor says:

      Editor’s Note: The Fernandina Observer allows anonymous posts if they add value to a conversation and are not mean spirited and offensive.

    • Outsider says:

      My name is Paulette Day if you must know.. in my work we have to take anonymous calls just as serious as non-anonymous. So me wanting to maintain anonymity does not mean that I do not feel as strongly about the issue as you do.

      • Steven Hair says:

        The city of Fernandina Beach keeps the birds off the docks & boats with a motion activated sprinkler that works great, they work on all wildlife and do not hurt them. A car cover will stop any peacock from scratching your car. God made all living things, this is their world too, learn to share it with all living creatures.

      • Steven Hair says:

        The city of Fernandina Beach keeps the birds off the docks & boats with a motion activated sprinkler that works great, they work on all wildlife and do not hurt them. A car cover will stop any peacock from scratching your car. God made all living things, this is their world too, learn to share it with all living creatures.

  11. tony crawford says:

    WOW
    I know nothing about this issue. I wouldn’t offer an opinion either way. I do think it is great that so many have voiced their opinion on the issue. It is refreshing to see so many get involved and take the time to air their thoughts.

    I only hope that some compromise can be reached which will help to solve this problem.

    I applaud all who have taken the time and effort to voice their opinions.

  12. kawana whittle says:

    First let me introduce myself, name Kawana Whittle. My family and I have been 50 plus year property owners in Fernandina Beach, Fl. AS PER, I am the property owner as most of you are aware that gave Mr. Hartley permission to remove birds from property. Some of you may not be aware that this dilemma has been in conversation since July 2013. A concerned property own contacted local gov. authority and other agency asking for help to resolve issue, but faced with no resolution, another alternative was the last resort, also was aired on Jax. News. As in recent posts, delusive comments have been made, that is your choose not mind. However some questions still have to be answered. As of meeting today, in sincerity. I am looking forward to working with a harmonious group to resolve this issue in good faith, hopefully no further actions has to be taken. I will also be providing group with info. to clear up some misconceptions that have been made.I think you will find interesting and enlighten. Mrs. Basore, I thank you for this article on task. Your are truly a class act. So lets get down to Business for a winning solution.

  13. Pam Bell says:

    After reading the replies, above, I do have a comment to Paulette Day and to DrConcerned. The first is to Paulette Day: We will not shut up about this issue. These birds are of historical and unique significance on this island and they do not need to be caged as they are free roaming birds, like any other. 1) The birds were here before whoever you visit was here. I am sorry your car was damaged, but in 20 years, I have never seen done to a car what you have described above. I do not expect you to tell the location of where the car was parked, but we don’t know, from your statement, if it was even parked where the peafowl live, in discussion, live. I would be interested to know. Also, if I had visited a location where an animal or bird had damaged my car, previously, I think I would take extra precautions the next time I visit–not suggest the animal or bird be removed from their habitat. Also, there are other peafowl on our island, so not sure if you are referring to the ones in discussion.
    The second comment is to DrConcerned: The FWC has determined the peafowl are in no way a danger to anything–animal or other in this area–and post no threats that way. They are not included in the ‘releasing of non-native species’ because they have lived here for 50 years and were already here, AND because they are not burmese pythons being released into the Everglades. That was cleared up by the FWC yesterday during our meeting with the Legislative Council. It is good to be informed and I knew you would appreciate knowing this. Thank you for your concern, though.

  14. Doug Jones says:

    I have been aware of the peafowl controversy since the beginning…. not last week, last month or last year, but from nearly forty years ago.
    In 1973 I worked for the City of Jacksonville Planning Department. We were contracted by the Nassau County Commission to develop a Zoning Code for the unincorporated area of Nassau County. This included detailed mapping accomplished by riding every road (and trail) accessible by vehicle (and some that weren’t) to determine existing uses of the various land areas (ie:commercial, residential, etc) and notate them on an atlas of maps. We also notated on the maps, houses, farms, mobile homes, the type of commercial use, the type of farming activity and many times the type of animals (ie: chickens, swine, horses, cows etc.) We didn’t normally notate free range activities such as turkeys, quail, peafowl etc) We also conducted numerous public meetings and after the initial maps were created with the hated zoning boundaries, we held several ‘heated’ public hearings that led to adoption of the Code on October 8th, 1974. During the months of road trips, I met many people throughout the County and here on Amelia Island to discuss how this newfangled law was going to affect them and /or protect them (hey…. we’re the Government, we’re here to ____ you … you get to add your own word here).

    Back to the peafowl, they were in the Amelia City area when the land use survey was done, when the public meetings took place, when the numerous public hearings were held…. when everyone was assured that anything that existed at the time of passage of the new Zoning Code would be allowed to continue… even if that use, activity or barn yard critter was not in compliance with the Ordinance after it was adopted. We even appointed the wife of the un-official Mayor of Amelia City to our first Zoning Board and I was hired as the first Zoning Administrator (later Planning & Zoning Director). All of this was done to assure the good folks of the County that this was not another of Amelia Island Plantations (or insert any other nefarious scoundrel that wanted to take away your God granted property rights… but on the southern end of the Island it was AIP in 1974) … efforts to rid them of unsightly stuff ( here you insert ‘hogs, horses, cows, chickens, junk vehicles, etc, etc … and YES peafowl or in the case of the uniformed caller… PEACOCKS). As that caller to my office in late 1974 or maybe early 1975 was told… they are ‘GRANDFATHERED in’ or as is more correctly stated, allowed to remain as an existing use/activity/entity predating the adoption of Ordinance 74-33 , Nassau County Zoning Code.
    As a free range animal (fowl) we never attempted to define the range of the peafowl back in the mid-seventies and it is rather amusing to me that now, 39 years later, someone finds that this needs to be done. If it is defined, it should include the area where the flock resided ‘back in the day’.
    I wish the Peacock group and the peafowl the best… I have watched the flock off and on for some time, having lived in Amelia City and raising a family there for many years, I now live a bit further North on the Island where we don’t get to enjoy the presence of those lovely birds.

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