Exotic Rage

Peacocks inspire in me an uncharacteristic callousness. It’s their growing ubiquity, their casual destructiveness, and the mere fact that they are of the avian persuasion.

I am not a bird person. Modern dinosaurs, especially larger ones, make me uneasy. Although if I’m honest, the frantic sound of a hummingbird speeding past my ear inspires a similar terror. That Daphne du Maurier story had an impact, just as the goose that bit me when I was a toddler did: birds, if they organized around a shared realization, could wipe. Us. Out. Just think about all their pointy bits! And, get this: they can fly.

But back to peacocks. Many Americans might consider these Indian natives to be gorgeous, and sighting them a rare treat. These same people would consider me lucky to live in an area that boasts so many “wild” ones. Step out the door on any given morning and you’re likely as not to encounter a flock, milling about the streets or snacking on lawn bugs…or people’s gardens.

Not being florally inclined, it’s more their shit that gets to me, as it gets to everywhere. Plops of excrement litter the porch, the lawn, the driveway, the street, our shoes. Outdoor furniture becomes unusable.

And their numbers are only growing. A city ordinance makes it illegal to render these birds road kill. They squawk at all hours and reproduce with impunity. When you hear stomping on the roof, guess who?

peacock

Evil Incarnate

My parents were visiting a few months ago with their dog, and one day they let him chase a male bird off the lawn. The sound of terror that enormous bird made as he took flight, barely escaping the dog’s eager jaws, filled me with a surprising amount of glee. Surprising because I’m more of a “live and let live” type when it comes to fellow creatures.

Not so peafowl. (Nor ants that deign to enter the house and make a meal of my leftover naan–a related story for another day.) Peafowl’s creeping invasion of the neighborhood–the entire geographic region, really–and their entitled attitude has turned this vegetarian animal rights proponent into an urban hunting advocate. I wrote two theses on animal-human relationships, and will always argue for the inclusion of other species in any cultural relativist ideological framework. But when it comes to coexisting with peacocks, Let’s cull the fuckers, I think more often than I’m comfortable with.

I suppose this means I’m only human, and not immune to our culture’s propensity to draw stark lines between ourselves and other animals. How long until these iridescent dinosaurs’ protected status allows them to completely take over?

It’s us or them.

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8 Comments

Filed under Animals, Contemporary, Why Can't I Eat My Dog?

8 responses to “Exotic Rage

  1. Look. It’s one thing to believe that other species also have a right to inhabit the planet and not be eradicated so we can build golf courses or attract tourists (or simply stuff our gullets). It’s another thing to despise a non-native, intrusive species with no natural predators around to keep the numbers in balance. You written before about humans and our propensity to turn animals into pets, either individually or, in this case, collectively. Don’t all animals (including insects) have species whose proximity they tolerate and those they don’t? As far as dealing with your problem, I commend you to the “Predator” section of this article: http://animals.mom.me/indian-peacocks-predators-8029.html

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nora Lee

    Well, since you have courageously admitted to your peafowl abhorrence, I feel I can raise my hand and second your motion. I actually like most birds and when I first moved to the area, I was dazzled by the peacocks. Then I became a regular stop on their foraging expeditions. Seems they really like red flowers. I know because they ate all of mine one summer. And one morning I came out to find six of them sitting on top of our Prius. It looked like they were trying to hatch it! Those feet come with real dinosaur claws, you know. Now, I have Peanut the wonder dog. All 10 pounds of her gets extreme pleasure out of making those monsters fly!!! Go Peanut!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ROBIN REED

    This is so spot on! I confess I might have sort of let Scout out that day on purpose. Effect, huh? I continue to be in awe of your wonderful gift of putting words together on the page. And of course, that is a totally unbiased opinion of your parent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha! I have friends who have peacocks in their neighborhood. I didn’t realize they were such a nuisance…

    Liked by 1 person

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