20 October 2021

Another peacock killed by a car on a 'dangerous' Narrabundah street

| James Coleman
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Narrabundah peacocks

A peahen and peachicks at home in a backyard at Narrabundah. Photo: Supplied.

WARNING: This story may distress some readers.

‘Pindar’ the peacock is the latest to be struck by a car on Finniss Crescent in Narrabundah and left for dead. The local community says enough is enough and are lobbying the government to ensure he didn’t die in vain.

Convenor of the Save the Narrabundah Peafowl Community, Timothy DeWan, likens Pindar to the ‘canary in the coal mine’, drawing attention to dangerous and inadequate roads in the area.

“We had another victim of speed and traffic congestion, where a bird the size of a five-year-old child was knocked over and left by the side of the road. And again, the government is doing nothing. Again, promises are made and there is no follow-up. We’re getting frustrated,” Mr DeWan said.

Pindar was struck on Monday (18 October) and is the sixth wild peacock killed by traffic in the last 12 months. Mr DeWan says that at the rate they’re going, the local population of 20-odd will be gone in a few years.

Their concern is for the peafowl and what it means for the children and elderly in the area.

“We have a lot of young children here and they can’t even cross the road without the risk of being run over. The elderly citizens who are in a number of places around here could also be in danger.”

Peacock

‘Pindar’ was struck by a car and on Monday (18 October). Photo: Timothy DeWan.

The peafowl have wandered the streets and gardens of Narrabundah and Canberra’s north for over 30 years. The exact origin of the introduced species remains a mystery. The most common theories are that they either escaped from an embassy or a private zoo along Mugga Lane.

“It’s been suggested that the first peacock, named Henry, came across from that private zoo,” Mr DeWan says. “He was very lonely at first until a peahen came onto the scene and there must have been some love that night because a couple of months later, there were chicks.”

Henry was killed sometime later when a car mounted a kerb and struck him.

“Peafowl being killed by cars is not a new thing. We can only hope it’s not deliberate.”

Most of the collisions occur on the two major roads of La Perouse and Carnegie Crescent, near the local primary school.

Peacocks

Two peacocks in the backyard. Photo: Timothy DeWan.

Mr DeWan and other members of the Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group met with Transport Minister Chris Steel in March this year. Minister Steel said that a review of the situation would be undertaken.

Mr DeWan says it was then “nothing, nothing, nothing” until a few months later when a letter arrived confirming the review.

“Still nothing. It’s just been deadly quiet.”

Four signs were placed around the area back in 2019 warning of wildlife and Mr DeWan says the community is very grateful for these, but it isn’t enough.

The group would specifically like to see the speed limit in the area lowered to 40 km/h and some road markings and installations to slow drivers down.

“The point we’re trying to make is that these roads were designed in the 1950s and ’60s when Canberra was much smaller. We now have so many more people using these roads and the congestion levels and speed are much higher. It’s ridiculous some of the speeds we see, particularly on Carnegie Crescent.”

Peacock feathers

What doormats look like in Narrabundah. Photo: Timothy DeWan.

Mr DeWan says the birds are beautiful but also large and ungainly and are “just being taken out” because of this.

“We’re seeing the inner north and inner south of Canberra built up and built up with more and more new apartments, but the government is not putting money into the infrastructure. The impact on the roads and transport is not being addressed.

“We just really want the government to talk to us. We need to see action.”

A spokesperson for the ACT Government says they have commissioned a pedestrian safety study for La Perouse Street and Carnegie Crescent. A final draft is expected by the end of October.

“The study will investigate ways to prioritise safety for traffic, pedestrians and peafowl.”

The report was delayed due to the pandemic and conducted when there was less traffic on the roads. There are concerns the outcomes of any study conducted in recent months may not be representative of normal traffic conditions.

“The findings will be discussed with the Narrabundah community in coming weeks once the contents and recommended treatments have been considered,” the government spokesperson said.

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David Worboys10:44 pm 23 Oct 21

As new comers to the suburb it was great to see these birds at first. But after seeing the number of near misses with car accidents and the damage the birds are doing pooing everywhere they need to go. Relocate them to the wild at the very least, they aren’t native and need to go.

I don’t understand why we’re protecting an introduced species. Yes they’re lovely to look at and certainly don’t deserve to be flattened by a vehicle, but we should be working towards reducing their numbers, and looking at ways to improve native species in the area instead.

No love for peacocks here. Get rid of the mongrels. What next ? Maybe save the rabbits or the cane toad preservation society.

What about the hazards these birds create for motorists. Hope the driver is okay and the damage to his car was covered by insurance but it should be the government compensating him for allowing feral species to roam in our neighbourhoods. Peacocks are not native animals, it is ridiculous we’d be spending tax payers money to protect them.

Jenny Graves5:35 pm 21 Oct 21

I absolutely agree with you, Sam. Many years ago now I lived in the Sundown Village in Narrabundah. These damn birds took up residence and bred prolifically. They made a lot of noise and a lot of mess and were hated by almost all of the residents, except for one couple who compounded the issue by protecting them and their eggs from predators, which increased the population enormously. They appear to have moved on into the streets of Narrabundah.
If the members of the Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group are so keen to protect them, I suggest they do it themselves instead of asking for ACT tax payers to foot the bill.

Trevor Willis5:55 pm 21 Oct 21

Well said. It is always these minorities that think they can rule the world as long as someone else pays for it.

George Jenson8:09 pm 23 Oct 21

With all due respect I agree. They are feral animals. I have seen the skinks in our front yard disappear. What about the endangered legless lizards that live in the parks around us. In this day and age this makes no sense. They are breading and spreading. There has to be at least sixty around the area now and we have been here for 20 years when they started as only a handful. Don’t use our tax payers dollars for signs or speed humps use them to remove the peacocks. We are an educated and progressive community. How can we make this mistake again in allowing an introduced apraxia’s to bread and spread. Yea they are pretty but vanity is no excuse for this. The native animals need to be protected.

George Jenson6:43 am 24 Oct 21

‘apraxia’s’ should say ‘species’ and ‘Yea’ should say ‘Yes’. This is like the Liberal NSW government allowing feral horses to breed in the mountains except we have a Labor/Green government. What are we to do. There is no difference. As one person said the loud minority in politics – exactly like the right blocking climate change action.

I have lived in the area for a long time. These birds are definitely breeding and spreading. What started as the Narrabundah peacocks are now the Narrabundah, Griffith and Red Hill peacocks. We had nine juvenile males roosting in a tree near our bedroom window last year. The noise was unbearable. Think a rooster with a load speaker times ten or your neighbour deciding to mow the lawn all night. Anyway, this year they are gone (fingers crossed). Can only imagine they have spread into other suburbs (it is how they got here in the first place – what every animal does). I think we could have well over 60 peacocks. Agree with the comments, a community that believes in protecting the environment would not allow a feral animal to establish itself like this. The ACT government should spend its money (our money) removing them.

Capital Retro11:08 am 24 Oct 21

Wait until the new mosque in Narrabundah starts playing the call to prayer on the Tannoy.

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