You've likely heard of Vancouver, British Columbia. Surrey? Maybe not: it's a city in its own right and a part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Surrey's got an unfortunate reputation for crime due largely to occasional targeted daytime gang hits and the omnipresent narcotics trade. I lived across the bridge from Surrey for close to a decade. I always felt safe there and enjoyed the food, culture and good times that Surrey had to offer.
But now that I know that it's infested with feral peacocks, I may not be back.
According to the CBC, Surrey city officials believe that Surrey residents living between 150 Street and 62 Avenue are being forced to cope with the presence of between 40 and 150 feral peacocks roaming the streets. Yeah, peacocks are gorgeous when seen in a zoo and hilarious when used as an alarm system by Hunter S. Thompson. But for a bunch of renters and homeowners who just want to live their lives with a minimal amount of bullshit, they're sort of a nightmare. Peacocks are loud, aggressive and, like most large birds, leave massive amounts of greasy shit everywhere they go. The problem with the birds has gotten so bad that some residents have started taking matters into their own hands.
Shit has gone down, friends.
This past May, in a fit of peacock-induced rage, a man cut down a tree where an ostentation of dozens of the birds had decided to nest, every night. There was just one problem: BC's kinda touchy about preserving nature. As such, the axeman was forced to pay a $1,000 fine for turning his lawn into a lumber yard. No matter what the city thought of the tree's felling, the man's neighbors were in favor of the act. One member of the neighborhood complained that the peacocks were "…messing up his property, pooping all over the place, making a terrible racket and destroying his garden."
The birds are driving Surrey residents to other crimes, too. According to the CBC, a Surrey By-Law officer was called out in response to a complaint that some mad bastard was feeding the mean but beautiful birds. When the By-Law officers confronted the purported bird-feeder, he was assaulted and, as a result, ended up calling the cops for backup.
From the CBC:
Neighbour Julie Greg said she heard a bunch of sirens and came out to investigate.
"We saw about anywhere from six to seven squad cars and a fire truck. Shortly after an ambulance came, then we heard the choppers," Greg said.
Neighbours say the property in question has a rather large feeding and housing shed for the peacocks.
The birds, in smaller numbers, have been in Surrey for close to four decades. But as the peacock population climbs, the presence of the birds has pitted neighbor against neighbor and brought violence to the areas that they populate.
My gut tells me that the situation's only gonna get worse.