Warning: an image in this story may be distressing to some readers.
A community group at Narrabundah is urging the ACT Government to consider an urgent public information campaign for motorists to slow down after seven peafowl were hit by cars in the past eight months, reducing the population from 30 to 23 birds.
Two have been killed by motorists this week and another two died in the last month.
There are also reports of ducks being hit by motorists in the area as well.
The Save the Narrabundah Peafowl group has been raising awareness of the birds which roam the streets and backyards of Narrabundah and nearby Red Hill. Convenor of the group Tim DeWan said it appears motorists are simply not aware of the birds, but he went as far as to say some motorists are indiscriminately killing the harmless birds.
“I have been told of a lady who slowed down to let a female peahen cross the road. She was abused by a motorist behind her who passed by at speed,” Mr DeWan said.
“These birds can easily be seen, so how much longer do we have to wait until it’s a child that is hit?”
A young female peahen named Penny was killed on La Perouse Street, close to the intersection with Carnegie Crescent, during the storm on Wednesday (22 February). Another peafowl named Pedro was found dead on Carnegie Crescent on Tuesday.
“Feathers were scattered everywhere, and Penny was killed a very short distance from a stop sign in wet conditions,” Mr DeWan told Region Media. “Across the road is Red Hill Primary School.
“If it’s some little kid on a bicycle who comes out behind a car, they’re gone. Does the government have to wait until something like that happens?”
Mr DeWan said there was a definite attitudinal problem among some motorists travelling at speed on suburban streets and he welcomed calls for a public education campaign for motorists to reduce their speed in areas where the speed limit is 50 km/h unless marked otherwise.
Mr DeWan said he fears for the peafowl population in Narrabundah as they are being killed faster than they can be replenished.
While some of the birds die from natural causes and the predatory behaviour of animals such as foxes, he said the alarming increase in the number of peafowl being killed showed that the group’s recent campaign to instal four wildlife-crossing signs is had little effect.
“This is not just about a small number of people associated with the peafowl. This is the local community having a say through all the responses we get on our Facebook page and other social media,” Mr DeWan said.
“There is an enormous concern in the ACT about something they think is precious.
“What we’re seeing is the population of our peafowl is being slowly wiped out, not necessarily by deliberate human activity, but by sheer indifference to the speed laws and thinking about slowing down because these birds are here, or maybe a child.
“These birds are in some ways the canary in the mineshaft and that this is a warning people are going far too fast, and we seriously need to have a discussion about our actions on the road.”