Mar 16 2012 by Gregor White, Stirling Observer Friday
ROGUE peacocks have the run of Gargunnock.
The village has been overrun by the highly distinctive birds, believed to have grown from a single male-female pair to a brood of around half a dozen.
They take over gardens and roofs and resist any attempt to repel them – including water pistols.
Community council chairman Douglas Coupethwaite said that, although it might sound like a joke, it is getting to be a serious problem.
“They have destroyed vegetable patches and other garden plants, get up on people’s conservatories and make quite a bit of racket when they’re in the mood,” he said.
“It’s a real pest and most people are just absolutely fed up with it now.”
Since the story featured on national television there have been several approaches to the community from people and groups saying they would be happy to take the peacocks off Gargunnock’s hands.
They include one from former MP Tam Dalyell. Already keeping 19 peacocks at his home at The House of the Binns near Linlithgow, he said he would not want to see the Stirlingshire flock “put to the sword”.
Offers have also come from the Hillfoots, Stranraer and Ayrshire areas, though Douglas says there is a major problem with the majority of them.
“It’s mainly on a basis of ‘we’ll take them if you catch them’,” he said. Well that’s easier said than done.
“You might not believe it of such big birds but they can actually fly from a standing start and they’re quite cute – they’ll let you get so close before taking off.
“They don’t get very far – maybe up on to a wall or a low roof – but far enough.
“They also have this look in their eye when they see you approaching that would make me think twice about putting my hands on them.
“For all that they’re a pest, I also wouldn’t want to see any harm come to them and we are concerned that a lot of well-meaning amateurs crashing about the place could end up actually being a danger to them.”
On this basis the offer from an Ayrshire estate looks like the best bet at the moment. The owners offered to trap the birds themselves.
But Douglas said there are also legal issues to be sorted out too: “Locally it was always understood that these peacocks were associated with one local house but the owners of that have stated in writing that the birds have nothing to do with them.
“As far as most of us are concerned all investigations that can be made to find out where the birds originally came from have been made and they are feral.
“But we’ll want to make sure with the police that we are able to move them without fear of any kind of action being taken before we go ahead.”