Threatened peacocks are saved in Doncaster village - for now

Finningley’s iconic peacocks have been saved – for at least two years.

Friday, 18th October 2019, 12:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 10:50 am
One of several Peacocks that live around Finningley Duck Pond. Picture: NDFP-05-10-19-Peacocks-1
One of several Peacocks that live around Finningley Duck Pond. Picture: NDFP-05-10-19-Peacocks-1

A colony of the birds has lived in the village for around 40 years near the duckpond – but Finningley Parish Council commissioned a report on the future of the birds after complaints that their numbers were rising too fast, causing noise and damage to people’s property.

But now after a meeting during which members of the parish council were presented with petitions calling on them not to remove the birds, the council has decided to leave the animals well alone.

It has agreed to take no action to remove any of the peacocks until at least 2021 – but it has left the door open to review the decision after that if there are widespread concerns in the future.

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Finningley Duck Pond. Picture: NDFP-05-10-19-Peacocks-3

If 15 per cent of the households in the village – which would amount to around 120 homes – they would look at running another survey.

But parish council chairman Richard Johnson has stressed that even if the birds are taken out of the village, they would not be culled, but would be humanely re-homed.

He said: “The petitions showed quite a considerable number of people asking us not to do anything, and they were separated by postcode to see who lived in the village.

“We spoke to the ecologists who originally wrote a report for us on this issue, and they said with the water course and food, the area could sustain about 40 peafowl. So we have resolved to take no action.”

But he acknowledged that if the peacock population grows and spreads to a wider section of the village, the number of residents who have concerns over the number of the birds may rise if they cause damage to property.

He said: “We felt it was important to leave it open for the village to come back to us in two years. But we’ll not consider it again for two years.

“We have tried to be sensible, and I think we have come to the best compromise.

“There has never been any suggestion of a cull, or any reduction in the number of birds other than by relocation. If re-location was ever was the wish of the majority in the village, we would ensure that it was done properly, with proper trapping of the birds and humane relocation. We would pay for that.”

Last month, consultant ecologist Natasha Estrada, of Estrada Ecology, wrote a report for the parish council looking at the issue. It revealed there were 22 Indian peafowl in the village, a three-fold rise in recent years.

She ran a survey, with questionnaires sent to residents, with 54 people getting back to her. It found 37 in favour of keeping the peafowl 13 against keeping them. Four were neutral, with no strong opposition to the population but suggesting population monitoring or a reduction in numbers may be appropriate.

Those who wanted to remove the birds from the village said raised concerns over noise, droppings, garden damage to lawns and vegetation, and damage to cars and property.

Two people complained the peacocks were particularly attracted to dark coloured cars in which they can see their reflection.

Concerns were also raised that they caused a road hazard.

But those who wanted to keep them said the peafowl had lived in the village a long time and brought character to the village. Some said they act as a natural traffic calmer particularly on Wroot Road and Doncaster Road. And 85 per cent said the birds had not damaged any of their property.

The report suggests four options for the village – doing nothing, removing all the peacocks and peahens, reducing the population of the birds, or removing the trees where they roost.

It warns that if they do nothing, the population could rise further.