Coronado’s Peacocks Have Some Neighbors Squawking

Some say the peacocks have always lived in Coronado, one of Phoenix's oldest neighborhoods. Maria Cody has lived there for seven years and says the birds have been roaming Coronado's streets since before she did. She proudly shows off a photo of one of the male peacocks, which one night long ago perched atop her roof for an entire evening, displaying his massive plumage and looking for all the world like a colossal weather vane.

But despite all this pretty posing, some neighbors want the birds the hell out of Coronado — an historic 'hood bordered by Thomas Road and I-10, Seventh and 20th streets — and have joined forces to get the feathered fowl rounded up and shipped, later this month, to a bird ranch in Queen Creek. Two peacocks have been caught and dragged away so far because, their detractors say, they are scratching up cars parked on Coronado streets and because their summertime mating calls are loud, annoying, and never-ending.

"They're like giant turkeys," says Stephen Godsey, who owns an apartment complex at 1015 East Palm Lane and was the first to lodge a complaint at City Hall about the big, noisy birds. "They're beautiful, but they don't belong in the city. They have giant claws, and they're scratching up our cars with them. Plus all the screaming they do — like female cats in heat."

Pretty public nuisance: A Coronado peacock struts its stuff.
Kim Blake
Pretty public nuisance: A Coronado peacock struts its stuff.

Some of the neighbors are pretty catty, too. Those who want the loud, messy peacocks evicted claim the birds are there because one man wants to piss off his neighbors, who hate peacocks. Those who love the birds' noble prettiness are wagging fingers at neighbors who, they say, are mean, animal-hating monsters.

No one is screaming so loudly as the peacocks, though. Perched atop telephone poles, the males bellow for peacock tail well into the night and long before the sun rises each morning.

"I was up 'til three o'clock this morning because of the howling," says Cara Kelly, who's lived in Coronado for a year. "Imagine a rooster as big as a dog, hollering at the top of its lungs all night long . . . If the peacocks are not gone by the time my lease is up, I'm moving."

All that bellowing, everyone agrees, is at the root of the problem in Coronado. But Joe Murphy, an aide to the neighborhood's councilman, Michael Nowakowski, thinks the birds should stay. Murphy's become the reluctant go-to guy on the peacock mess, in part because he used to live in the neighborhood and is sympathetic to the plight of the birds. He thinks the simplest solution to the Coronado cacophony would be to neuter the peacocks so they'll stop hollering for sex.

De-sexing birds sounded peculiar to me, but what do I know about fowl? I called my friend Virginia Kennaway, a veterinarian who's taken care of my cats for years, and asked whether birds got vasectomies. She was polite.

"You can do it, but it's dangerous and expensive," Virginia said. "Fixing the peacocks is sort of a crazy idea, and they'd still scream their heads off. What the neighbors need to do is relocate the birds to a safer place."

Murphy, like many Coronado denizens, disagrees. The peacock presence, he says, "brings real character to the Coronado community."

But Coronado has more than its share of characters already. I know because I lived there for nearly a decade, in the '80s and early '90s. And while I don't remember ever seeing so much as a peacock feather, I do remember The Palm Tree Guy. His name is Wayne Murray, and he still lives in Coronado. In the '80s, he seemed to own about half the neighborhood rentals and had planted every one of his lots with what seemed like hundreds of date palms. Pretty much everyone I spoke to about the peacocks mentioned Murray as a major player in the peacock saga, and I began to wonder if maybe he hadn't traded peacocks for palm trees as his new obsession.

I called Wayne, whom I met one sunny day in 1986 when I came home to find him in my front yard, digging up one of the palm trees growing there. ("Your landlady told me I could have this," he'd said, pointing to the smallish date palm sprouting in a southern exposure of my corner lot.)

I didn't ask Wayne if he remembered meeting me, but I did ask if he was responsible for the peacocks overrunning his neighborhood. He just laughed.

"The birds were abandoned by a woman who lived in Coronado 15 years ago," Murray says. "Two or three of them showed up at my house a few years ago, and I started feeding them. There are five or six of us who feed them. They're scavengers, and they go where they're fed. I'm glad they're here, but I'm not breeding them. And I'm not the reason they're here."

"He's lying, of course," says Jeani Garrett, a wildlife rehabilitator who rescues birds all over the Valley. Garrett believes that Murray is not only breeding the birds but using them to "yank the chain" of next-door neighbor Godsey, because he's a landlord competing for Murray's tenants. Godsey says he represents "14 or 15 householders affected by the peacocks," none of whom will go on the record with their comments "for fear of retribution."

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17 comments
Stephani Jones
Stephani Jones

ONE SOLUTION MIGHT BE TO LOOK INTO CITY FUNDS TO UPGRADE WINDOWS AND THINGS LIKE THAT. I LIVE NEXT DOOR TO A BARKING DOG AND THE AIRFORCE BASE AND I DO NOT HEAR A THING WHEN I AM INSIDE. IT AMAZES ME WHAT I HEAR OUTSIDE AND NOT INSIDE. PERHAPS SINCE THIS IS AN ANCIENT NEIGHBORHOOD, UPGRADING WINDOWS AND INSULATING WOULD HELP AS WELL AS ARRESTING A COUPLE OF KIDS FOR USING THOSE SLINGSHOTS ON THE BIRDS. I KNOW SOME ONE WHO USED TO BREED THESE BIRDS IN CA, HE SAID THE NOISE PROBLEM IS DUE TO INEDAQUATE NUMBER OF FEMALES TO MALE BIRDS DURING THE MATING SEASON. HE SAID IT NEEDS TO BE ABOUT 3 FEMALES TO EACH MALE TO ABATE THE NOISE.

John Lynch
John Lynch

My wife and I lived in Coronado for a while. We parked on the street across from Wayne. And we loved the peacocks. It was one of the many things that made Coronado such a cool neighborhood.

Wayne Murray
Wayne Murray

While in remote Honduras I asked how the people could sleep with the hundreds of roosters all night makeing noise. While I brought ear plugs the Hondurans said that they just listen to the roosters and fall asleep listening to them....they learned that in nature you learn to use nature to work with you not against you. They had learned that the noise of the rooster was not annoying. I did the same thing with the peacock noise, I used it a a focus, a mantra as you will to actually fall asleep. It became my call to sleep clearing my head of the daily un-natural sounds of the city.....TV, radio, and the other inputs.how many of us clean up a little Dog poop or scoop cat poop that sits in a sand container in a bathroom? Change a diaper, or listen to our young call for food, tune our children in a first grade classroom, or jet noise from a airport.It appears to me that for many years the peacocks were not a problem in the neighborhood when a women was careing for them in her back yard. When she left they scavanged looking for care.......we did not give the natural course of life to progress by perhaps looking for infdividuals living close to "attract" the birds to another place they could live in peace...."wanted" therefore not annoying those who did not want them. We did not look at natures way but to our own way, as one person posted "more interested in pointing fingers" and making accusations than working together to "discover the solution". So now we have ripped the young chicks from the mothers, we have rounded up half the already disturbed, from the leaving of the caretaker, group of Peacocks. And what do we do.....rage on about the noise they make regarding this condition they now fine themselves in.......would anyone question actually why the noise is now so much more intense as the males are calling for their lost mates and their disturbed pattern of living......sad that they could not have found a caregiver close to home, that would have provide a secure stable safe environment for them to call during mating season.

I for one have learned about the nature of peacocks, and their "natural reactions" to life, and have also learned about the nature of humans, and their "natural reactions" to life.

A sad lesson that perhaps the young students at Emmerson Elementary school could have learned to bring change to the world..........I will keep peacock feather to remind me of this.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

In response to the first comment above, I AM breeding flying-monkeys. Strangely, neither the human nor the simian breeding material seems enthusiastic, a trait which I attribute to lack of vision. Thus far, all couplings have been sterile, but given the genomic overlap I feel that success is only a matter of time. The flying part will come later.

Miss G.
Miss G.

OK. Quick question to the people complaining of peacocks pooping on your porches-- Do you actually use your porches? When we first moved in on Dayton the peacocks were very prevalent on our porch but once we started using it � well they got the idea and stayed away.

I love the peacocks. I, like many have mentioned, enjoy the surprise of seeing their majestic beauty in our urban setting. All winter I enjoyed peeking at them on the telephone poles as I made my morning coffee. This spring they offered an evening of entertainment and delight to some out of town guests as we chilled on the porch and enjoyed the peacock�s comings and goings. They are part of what makes Coronado unique and part of what makes me want to continue to live here.

That said I think the most important thing to remember is that the peacocks need to be kept safe. I hate hearing about slingshots and poisonings and a few weeks ago (just before this whole issue flared up) I called the police, as I was concerned a few teenagers were shooting at the birds in the alley. Evicting all the sticks in the mud who can�t handle a little poo and noise to some tamer, boring neighborhood isn�t realistic unfortunately. I fear that the birds are no longer welcome and should be relocated.

bob dobbs
bob dobbs

People are so funny. I have found the peacocks to be quieter than the random gunshots, sirens, helicopters and baseball/soccer games at the park (that last until 11pm many nights)but no one is complaining about those! This is like that typical Arizona story of the new house built across the street from the 50 year old dairy, and then they file complaints about the smell. Maybe the new multi-million dollar Coronado Park project can incorporate a petting zoo? I bet those funds get pocketed though-and thats another story. I bet a herd of roosters would put those peacocks in their place. Then the rentals can advertise "includes morning alarm." Welcome to Arizona. Leave it if you don't like it. Leave it all alone.

Brian
Brian

I always thought the peacocks were out of place in the Coronado neighborhood. When we ride our bikes my kids like seeing the peacocks. I feel sorry for the houses that have poop all over them and hope that the birds don't migrate over to my street. I only have seen peacocks at parks and the zoo. I always thought the peacocks brought people to visit Saguaro Ranch Park north of Glendale Community College. Why not improve our own Coronado Park by making it a sanctuary for peacocks and maybe it would bring more visitors to our community and some character to such a boring park!

Viv
Viv

I'm with Michelle. I live on Dayton street. Peacocks perch on my roof and poop on my porch. I say it is small payment for their beauty. And their noise bothers me less than some of the neighborhood dogs.

M Stein
M Stein

I've heard peacocks during mating season. They are incredibly loud. I feel sorry for the people who live nearby. I'm guessing they don't have double paned glass to block out noise in an old neighborhood like that.

Do the people who want to keep them around really think it's best for the birds to have them wandering around an urban area just so some children can ooh and ahh about molted feathers? So someone can have something pretty to look at while sitting on the porch? How selfish!

Surely, those birds would be better off at a ranch or wildlife preserve.

Kt
Kt

Wayne Murray does more for the "contentious" residents of Coronado than just feed them. Take a quick peek at his website at www.coronadoneighborhood.com to see a few examples. He is INDEED a "character" but you forgot to add "LOVABLE". It is laughable to say that he is "breeding" them.

Just a thought, but perhaps the crime rate of the peacock area is low compared to the rest of the inner city since everyone is awake all night?Kt

Camille
Camille

As a home-owner in Coronado with very think windows I can sympathize with the peopl who lose sleep over the noise. It IS an issue, for them. The solution is escaping us because we are not investigating solutions, but pointing fingers. Bring your ideas and values, don't push for your agendas or fixed outcomes.

Stafford
Stafford

During a recent trip to Phoenix, I visited a friend in the Coronado neighborhood, and was lucky enough to see the peacocks. Awesome! It reminded me of when I lived in Anchorage, Alaska and moose would step over our fence and eat the trees. There was the same internecine bickering there, but in the end, nature triumphed, as it always should. Humans are so self-centered sometimes. Leave the birds alone. Sheesh!

Kim Blake
Kim Blake

Thanks Robrt for writing about the peacocks. Wayne Murray is NOT breeding them, trust me on this. They breed themselves without the help of any humans. There are many other peacocks in Coronado besides the ones residing along Dayton and Palm Lane. A neighbor of mine on 9th St. has one in a large cage in her back yard and there are several near 14th St and Virginia.

One neighbor told me the other day that he saw a car pull over across the street from his house recently and drop off a couple of peacocks on the sidewalk. I don't know if this is indeed true but with all the press they've been receiving it wouldn't surprise me.

We are looking for a safe solution that does not involve hurting them or sending them far away.

Kim Blake

Michelle S
Michelle S

Wow! Harsh. I live in Coronado and have for 6 years. I love those peacocks. Imagine sitting on your front porch reading and suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you see something move and you look up. Walking around in your yard is a mature male peacock showing off his plumes - it is a showstopper.

These birds are amazing and beautiful and add the occasional WOW factor to what may be an otherwise dull day. After six years, they still impress me and I am not bothered a bit by the calling. In fact, I kind of like it.

Some people are just crotchety and complain about everything. They really need need to lighten up and enjoy the view.

RateroReporter
RateroReporter

Yes mr. godsey and ms. garrett I am breeding them, thousands of them, and releasing them to mr. godsey's property. those calls are actually subliminal messages that convince his tenants to move into my apartments. click on this link http://tinyurl.com/alien-peaco... to view the video of the latest release as they head from my home to their mission of tenant recruitment.......if you play the video backwards you will see that the song also convinces others to breed the "giant turkey's" for other subversive missions. What ever.....they used to think I was breeding the palm trees to take over the city, and have spyware in those little black berries. Hummmm to "own half the rentals in the hood and then piss off the neighbors at the same time" maybe that is the plan.... to get the other half if the berrys didn't work try the giant flying turkey's....maybe I will try flying monkey's next time like the witch in the Wizzard of Oz. I guess at least I can provide some fuel for imagination and leave a interesting impression on people.......

 
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