Peacocks: the world’s most beautiful street gang

They’re like a street gang, roaming the mean streets of Coconut Grove in packs with abandon. Pooping on sidewalks, on top of cars, in pools. They bone everywhere and all the time.

Peacocks run Coconut Grove.

Technically, only males are peacocks. The females are peahens. Together, they’re peafowl.

They’ve been around the Grove as long as anyone can remember. They’re native to India, and the similar subtropical climate made it a perfect breeding ground when they made their way here.

But it doesn’t seem that anyone is exactly sure how that happened.

There are some theories, though. One is that hotel developers like Carl Fisher and Henry Flagler brought them here in the early 1900s as a marketing gimmick. Another is that a local couple bought a pair as pets, and they’ve just bred and bred all over the place.

But maybe it was destiny.

Among the earliest settlers of Coconut Grove was the Peacock family (no relation). In the 1870s, the English sailor Jack Peacock, his brother Charles Peacock, and his wife Isabella Peacock opened a hotel in what is today Peacock Park. And this is long before the birds made their way to Coconut Grove.

Grovites have a love/hate relationship with the peafowls.

The birds definitely give the Grove that Bohemian vibe.

But they also drop their guano (aka bird poo) everywhere — and it can strip the paint off of those fancy Mercedes-Benzes if it’s not wiped off within 24 hours.

They also do not give a cock-a-doodle-doo. They will land on the roof of your house and prance around. Clocking in at anywhere between six and 13 pounds, that can get pretty loud. They also squawk, hoot, and holler as they please — especially from January to April, their mating season.

It’s illegal to kill or injure these birds in Miami-Dade County. (You can remove them from your property if you want, but there’s not really anywhere to put them). The City of Miami has considered things like an adoption initiative or birth control pills for the hens — which lay anywhere between 3 and 8 eggs at a time — to get them under control.

Didn’t happen. So. The peacocks stay mating. And they run these streets.

They’ve even been immortalized. All over the Grove you’ll see fiberglass statues honoring the peacocks. Each of them were painted by a local artist in 2010 as part of a public art project.

And even though they poop everywhere, scream all the time, and have sex in the streets — peacocks are probably the most beautiful street gang a neighborhood can have.

For more stories about Coconut Grove check out our neighborhood guide here.

  • Susan Perry

    We have a ton of them in the Redlands too. I love them and will gratefully rinse off my car.

  • AZee

    I’m in the “I love the peacocks & peahens!” group.

  • Ernie

    As a native Californian, I assure you I would rather face a gang of peacocks over a gang of CANADIAN FREAKING GEESE. Those bastards charge.