Peafowl in RPV Peafowl, RPV, Background, Information, The peafowl were introduced to the Palos Verdes Peninsula by community founder Frank Vanderlip in 1924. He received the birds from Lucky Baldwin in Arcadia, Peafowl are non-native animals and the City does not have an Ordinance protecting birds, so peafowl are not considered a protected species. However, the State animal cruelty code prohibits the hunting or killing of animals, including peafowl Background Information Regarding Peafowl in Palos Verdes Rancho Palos Verdes Peafowl in RPV


Peafowl have a long, storied history in Rancho Palos Verdes and on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  While many residents enjoy the presence of peafowl; others, particularly those who live in close proximity to peafowl flocks, are disturbed by the peafowl’s noisy calls, excessive fecal matter, and damage to personal property, particularly to landscaping and flower gardens. 

Staff attempts to educate residents that feeding peafowl and other wildlife is a violation of the City’s Municipal Code.  In an attempt to assist residents, Staff also provides information on helpful suggestions to discourage peafowl from visiting private property.  These suggestions range from the types of plants to avoid for landscaping and known peafowl-deterrents such as lawn sprinklers and the presence of dogs.   Many residents have reported mixed results when utilizing these methods.

Illegal to Feed Peafowl in RPV

The City enacted an ordinance on May, 19 2009 amending the Municipal Code to prohibit the feeding of peafowl (MC 10.84.010) and the interference with efforts to trap and relocate peafowl (6.04.070).  Prohibiting the feeding of peafowl is intended to help control the overall peafowl population.

Click here to link to the May 19, 2009 Staff Report which includes the amended ordinance.

Helpful Tips to Discourage Peafowl from Returning to Your Property:

  • Peafowl do not like water

Water is one of the best known deterrents for peafowl.  The intermittent use of sprinklers or a hose with a jet nozzle will act as a negative reinforcement for the birds.  Or consider a motion sensor activated water spray, such as the Scarecrow, that is battery operated and covers an area of about 35 feet and can be connected to your garden hose.  It’s available on-line or at garden stores such as OSH.

  • Peafowl are afraid of dogs.  Walk your dog around the property and neighborhood.
  • Peafowl will avoid certain repellents.
    Cat repellent and mothballs around planting beds, porches, and along walkways may be an effective means of repelling peafowl.  Caution should be used so as not to allow young children or animals to ingest the repellents. 
  • Peafowl like to eat seeds, bugs and worms.
    Avoid open compost and manure sacks.  If you wish to compost, use a covered compost bin and keep the composting area clean.
  • Peafowl like to eat wild birdseed, bread and pet food.
    These are delectable treats to peafowl.  Once they’re hooked, it’s difficult to wean them.  It’s a good idea to remove any leftover pet food immediately or feed pets indoors.
  • Peafowl prefer to roost in safe areas, such as overhanging trees.
    Trim or thin overhanging trees to deter peafowl.  The Canary Island Pine is a favorite resting spot because of its sturdy horizontal limbs and ample cover.
  • Some tips from other residents: 
    1. Tie silver mylar balloons at various locations around the property to keep the peafowl away;
    2. Sprinkle coyote urine (purchased at feed stores) around the perimeter of the property;
    3. Scare the peafowl-chase them off your property consistently for a few days;
  • Peafowl like to eat young tender seedlings. 

Avoid planting young tender seedlings in areas you do not want peafowl to visit or cover the plants until they’re well established.

  • Peafowl will not eat certain plants.  When landscaping or installing gardens consider plants that repel peafowl:
Agapanthus   Azalea        Baby’s Breath        
Bee Balm    Blazing Star   Liatris Bougainvillea 
Butterfly Plant  Cactus Camellia      
Cannas   Clivia    Columbine   
Coneflower    Coreopsis   Dusty Miller  
Ferns   Fuchsia    Gaillardia      
Gardenia   Geranium Giant Columbine     
Gladiola   Gloriosa Daisy   Hen & Chicken Hibiscus  
Hardy Lavender       Hostas      Ivy       
Jade    Lavender       Marigold
Mint    Mum   Oleander 
Painted Daisy Periwinkle Peonies     
Phlox  Pink Lady Plumbago
Poinsettia    Pyracantha Roses         
Shasta Daisy   Snap Dragon    Sunburst Coreopsis  
  • Avoid Plants Peafowl like to eat:
Amaryllis     Begonia   Broccoli    
Brussel Sprouts Cabbage California Poppy 
Cauliflower Chive  Holly Berries 
Impatiens     Kale Kohlrabi
Lettuce    Nasturtium Pansy   
Petunia     Primrose  Stock  
Sweet Alyssum  Tomatoes  Water Stalk 
Young Spinach    and any young tender plants.  

Peafowl Census and Trapping Efforts

Peafowl Trapping

There are no regulations or laws prohibiting the trapping of peafowl on private property. Residents should be aware that trapping peafowl requires a level of personal investment of time, energy and financial resources. Residents are strongly encouraged to implement alternative measures for discouraging peafowl from visiting their property.

The City does not have an active trapping program.  Twice in its history, after the 2000 and 2008 censuses, the City supported limited, targeted trapping.  Residents are permitted to trap peafowl on their personal property at their own expense.  Residents must also arrange for the safe and humane transport of the peafowl to an appropriate location.  Residents interested in trapping peafowl are strongly encouraged to utilize the services of a professional trapper.

For more information contact City staff:  Code Enforcement Officer Daniel Pitts at 310 544-5233 or .

2000 Census and 2001 Trapping

In October of 2000, the City hired Dr. Francine Bradley with the Avian Science Department at the University of California Davis to assess the City’s peafowl population and recommend what action the City should take. Dr. Bradley and her team of assistants conducted a population survey as well as identified territorial boundaries, flock activity and behavior patterns, peafowl impact, origins and appropriate means for population management.

Dr. Bradley focused her attention on neighborhoods within the Los Verdes, Portuguese Bend and Ridgecrest communities based upon resident responses from a direct-mail survey that was sent to various areas of the City. A series of community meetings were held to first gather public input and later to disseminate Dr. Bradley’s findings on the City’s peafowl population and various population control measures.

On February 20, 2001, the City Council unanimously approved Dr. Bradley’s recommendation of a one-time, City sponsored demonstration project to trap up to 50 peafowl from private residential properties and to give away the caught birds to ranches and farms that wanted them. The trapping demonstration project was developed to show residents how to build a temporary, manually operated trap designed for peafowl and the appropriate method of trapping the birds. The City’s intent was to help minimize the negative impact upon residents living in close proximity to large peafowl flocks by reducing the population size, not eliminating the peafowl population.

Due to reported sabotage of traps by peafowl enthusiasts, only 19 of the planned 50 peafowl were trapped. All 19 birds were relocated to large ranches or farms in California. 

Click here to see the February 20, 2001 Staff Report which includes the 2000 Peafowl Population Assessment

2008 Census and 2009 Trapping

A 2008 census conducted by a Graduate Student from the University of California Davis determined that there had been a 53% increase in the overall peafowl population, or 71 total peafowl, since the 2000 census.   The increase was primarily in the Vista Grande neighborhood which saw a 207% increase. The City subsequently hired a professional trapper who successfully trapped and relocated 71 peafowl in 2009. 

Click here for the May 5, 2009 Staff Report which includes the 2008 Peafowl Population Assessment

2011/2012 Census Summary

A team from Chino-based Animal Pest Management Services, consisting of a professional biologist and urban wildlife specialist, conducted a two-day census of peafowl in the City on Wednesday, April 18 and Thursday, April 19. This two-day census was a follow-up to a census performed on November 3-4, 2011.  Animal Pest Management Services is experienced in this field, having regularly performed peafowl censuses for other cities including Palos Verdes Estates.

The censuses conducted in 2011-12 focused on five Rancho Palos Verdes neighborhoods:  Portuguese Bend, Vista Grande, Crestridge, Sunnyside Ridge, and Monte Verde.  The first four areas were also studied in Rancho Palos Verdes' last two peafowl censuses conducted in 2000 and 2008; the fifth area, Monte Verde, was added because of a number of reports/complaints received by staff within the past year. The highest peafowl total of the four days observed in November 2011 and April 2012 was selected as the total for each of the five locations.  

The 2008 census, performed during the month of December, demonstrated a 53% increase in peafowl over the 2000 census with the majority of the increase located in the Vista Grande area.  Based on those findings, Council authorized staff to implement a trap and relocate program in Vista Grande which resulted in the relocation of 71 peafowl in 2009.  The November 2011 census, however, showed an overall decrease in peafowl numbers.  Due to that decrease and a relatively low number of recent complaints from residents, staff did not recommend City-sponsored trapping.  Instead, staff scheduled a second census in April, which is the time frame recommended by Animal Pest Management Services.      

Overall, there was a decrease of 43 peafowl counted from 2008 to 2011-12, representing a 21% decrease.  Compared to 2008 census totals, peafowl populations are down 7% in Portuguese Bend, 62% in Vista Grande and 10% in Crestridge.  Sunnyside Ridge's total increased by 127%, up from 11 in 2008 to 25 in the 2011/12 census.


Using the highest totals from each census location, the 2012 census total was higher than the 2011 total by 16.  The 2012 totals were higher overall than the 2011 totals in Portuguese Bend, Vista Grande, and Crestridge, while the 2012 totals were lower than 2011 in Sunnyside Ridge and Monte Verde.  Staff at Animal Pest Management Services opined that the numbers may have been slightly higher in the spring for two reasons; first the peafowl are more active in the spring and therefore easier to count because it is the mating season, and second, juvenile peafowl are smaller in the fall and may not have been as visible to census observers.

One difference in methodology between the 2000 and 2008 censuses conducted by UC Davis personnel and the 2011 census conducted by Animal Pest Management is that UC Davis staff counted peafowl in the morning and evening on two days, while Animal Pest Management Services counted solely in the morning hours over two days.  The 2011/12 figures reflect the highest number of peafowl observed during a single day's count.  Animal Pest Management Services' count might have been higher if additional counts were done in the evening.  It is important to note that the census reflects the minimum number of birds observed in a given area, not the actual number, which is undoubtedly higher.

Because the overall population is lower by 21% compared to 2008 totals, staff did not recommend City-sponsored trapping.   Staff will continue to refer residents to Mike Maxcy of Peacock Pro, who performed the peafowl trapping and relocation for the City in 2009. Mr. Maxcy has been willing to continue to offer his services to individual property owners who wish to remove individual peafowl.  Trapping is limited to the individual's private property and is at their expense.

Click here to see the 2011 Peafowl Census Report performed by Animal Pest Management Services.
Click here to see the 2012 Peafowl Census Report performed by Animal Pest Management Services.