Peafowl Census & Trapping Efforts
Are there laws that prohibit Peafowl trapping?
There are no regulations or laws prohibiting the trapping of peafowl on private property. Residents are strongly encouraged to initially implement determent measures to discourage peafowl from visiting their property. Visit the city’s website for suggestions on determent measures to discourage peafowl from visiting your property at https://www.rpvca.gov/510/Dealing-with-Peafowl.
Can I trap peafowl on my property?
Residents may hire a private trapper at their own expense to trap and humanely relocate peafowl from their property. Should residents use their own trap they must arrange for the safe and humane transportation of peafowl to an appropriate location outside of city limits. Residents are prohibited from releasing trapped birds elsewhere within city limits. Peachicks and/or Juvenile peafowl require the support of their mothers until they’re capable of fending for themselves. It is important to understand that trapping during breeding season or trapping mother birds with young could adversely affect the lives of their offspring. Residents interested in trapping peafowl are strongly encouraged to utilize the services of a professional trapper or may utilize the city’s contract vendor at their own expense.
NOTE: The Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control and the City of RPV will NOT remove nor relocate trapped peafowl. For more information about private trapping please consult with the Code Enforcement Division at CodeEnforcement@RPVca.gov or (310) 544-5281.
Does the City perform peafowl trapping?
The city does not perform private trapping and removal of peafowl. However, the City has implemented a peafowl management program (PMP) and contracts with a private trapper to assist the city with maintaining the peafowl population throughout six City Council-approved neighborhoods. A peafowl census is conducted annually to determine if trapping is warranted throughout the following six council-approved neighborhoods:
- Portuguese Bend
- Sunnyside Ridge
- Vista Grande
Peafowl Census History
On August 4, 2015, the City Council adopted the Peafowl Management Plan (PMP), a City-initiated plan to humanely manage the peafowl population within the City. This is achieved by reducing and maintaining the peafowl population to the levels first identified in the 2000 Peafowl Census Report for a total of 134 birds citywide. Peafowl management services including census reporting, trapping, and relocation are currently conducted within six neighborhoods throughout the city including the Portuguese Bend, Crestridge, Sunnyside Ridge, Grandview, Vista Grande, and Monaco.
Since the adoption of the PMP, an annual peafowl census is conducted to assess the peafowl population throughout the six council-approved neighborhoods to determine if trapping and relocation services are warranted to maintain the peafowl population in accordance with the 2000 census. As a result of the annual census reports and the City’s Peafowl Trapping Program, a total of 589 peafowls have been humanely trapped and relocated to communities off the Peninsula.
The 2020 census data reported an overall 56% reduction in the City’s peafowl population compared to the baseline census conducted in 2014. As a result of the 2020 census data, the City Council unanimously voted to pause the trapping program for the season. In 2021, census data reported an uptick in the peafowl population in two program neighborhoods, Vista Grande and Sunnyside Ridge. Thus, in June 2021, the City Council voted to reinstate the trapping program and relocate up to a total of 50 birds. A total of 25 birds were relocated from each respective neighborhood.
In May 2022, the City Council received and filed the 2022 Peafowl Census Report, which accounted for a total of 140 birds throughout the six program neighborhoods. Staff received significant public feedback from residents requesting the city to pause the 2022 trapping program. As a result of the 2022 census data that showed the city continues to maintain the peafowl population throughout the six program neighborhoods, the City Council voted to pause the trapping program for the season.
Recent Census Data
The following table summarizes and compares the number of birds trapped by program neighborhoods between the 2015 and 2022 trapping periods.
Peafowl Trapping Summary
*The trapping caps at 150 birds cannot be increased unless an additional environmental review is
conducted in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
In accordance with the City’s PMP, an annual peafowl census is required to estimate the population throughout the six program neighborhoods and to determine if humane trapping is warranted for the season. The City’s goal is to maintain the peafowl population at the levels first identified in the 2000 Peafowl Census Report.
The 2023 Peafowl Census Report was conducted by the City’s peafowl consultant, Raptor Events, between April 9-15, 2023. The census is conducted based on two types of observations; one that focuses on roosting peafowl in trees at sunrise and the other using a systematic grid pattern during the late afternoon to evening hours.
The following table provides historical figures of the peafowl population through census data collected between 2014 through the current year. The table also provides comparison figures to show the difference in the peafowl population between the prior and current year as well as the difference between the baseline data collected in 2014 and current year data.
Peafowl Census Summary
b/t 2014 & 2023
% Differences b/t 2014 &
% Differences b/t 2022 & 2023
*2015 Census was not conducted due to the PMP adoption occurring later in the year – August 4, 2015
The 2023 census reported a total of 133 birds from the six surveyed neighborhoods. This is an overall reduction of 5% in the peafowl population from the prior year and a 52% reduction in the overall peafowl population compared to the baseline census conducted in 2014. Three neighborhoods had higher peafowl populations last year: Portuguese Bend, Sunnyside Ridge, and Vista Grande, which had slightly declined in population this year. The City’s PMP continues to prove effective by once again achieving the goal of maintaining the peafowl population to the levels first identified in the 2000 Peafowl Census Report.
Census Data History
City of Rancho Palos Verdes 2000, 2008 & 2011-2012 Peafowl Census Data Summary
2000 Peafowl Census Data
2008 Peafowl Census Data
2011-2012 Peafowl Census Data*
Increase / Decrease 2008 - 2011-2012
Percent Increase 2008 - 2011-2012
Data taken on 4 separate days: November 3 to 4, 2011, and April 18 to 19, 2012. The highest total was selected.
Monte Verde numbers are not included in the total decrease or percentage decrease totals because that location was not included in 2000 or 2008 census.
Using the highest totals from each census location, the 2012 census total was higher than the 2011 total by 16. The 2012 totals were higher overall than the 2011 totals in Portuguese Bend, Vista Grande, and Crestridge, while the 2012 totals were lower than 2011 in Sunnyside Ridge and Monte Verde. Staff at Animal Pest Management Services opined that the numbers may have been slightly higher in the spring for 2 reasons:
- Peafowl are more active in the spring and therefore easier to count because it is the mating season.
- Juvenile peafowl are smaller in the fall and may not have been as visible to census observers.
One difference in methodology between the 2000 and 2008 censuses conducted by UC Davis personnel and the 2011 census conducted by Animal Pest Management is that UC Davis staff counted peafowl in the morning and evening on 2 days, while Animal Pest Management Services counted solely in the morning hours over 2 days. The 2011-2012 figures reflect the highest number of peafowl observed during a single day's count. Animal Pest Management Services' count might have been higher if additional counts were done in the evening. It is important to note that the census reflects the minimum number of birds observed in a given area, not the actual number, which is undoubtedly higher.
Because the overall population is lower by 21% compared to 2008 totals, staff did not recommend city-sponsored trapping. Staff will continue to refer residents to Mike Maxcy of Peacock Pro, who performed the peafowl trapping and relocation for the city in 2009. Mr. Maxcy has been willing to continue to offer his services to individual property owners who wish to remove individual peafowl. Trapping is limited to the individual's private property and is at their expense.
2016 Peafowl Trapping Program Final Counts
2011 to 2012 Census Summary
A team from Chino-based Animal Pest Management Services, consisting of a professional biologist and urban wildlife specialist, conducted a 2-day census of peafowl in the city on Wednesday, April 18, and Thursday, April 19. This 2-day census was a followup to a census performed on November 3-4, 2011. Animal Pest Management Services is experienced in this field, having regularly performed peafowl censuses for other cities including Palos Verdes Estates.
The censuses conducted in 2011-2012 focused on 5 Rancho Palos Verdes neighborhoods:
- Monte Verde
- Portuguese Bend
- Sunnyside Ridge
- Vista Grande
The first 4 areas were also studied in Rancho Palos Verdes' last 2 peafowl censuses conducted in 2000 and 2008. The 5th area, Monte Verde, was added because of a number of reports / complaints received by staff within the past year. The highest peafowl total of the 4 days observed in November 2011 and April 2012 was selected as the total for each of the 5 locations.
The 2008 census, performed during the month of December, demonstrated a 53% increase in peafowl over the 2000 census with the majority of the increase located in the Vista Grande area. Based on those findings, the council authorized staff to implement a trap and relocate program in Vista Grande, which resulted in the relocation of 71 peafowl in 2009. The November 2011 census, however, showed an overall decrease in peafowl numbers. Due to that decrease and a relatively low number of recent complaints from residents, staff did not recommend city-sponsored trapping. Instead, staff scheduled a second census in April, which is the time frame recommended by Animal Pest Management Services.
Overall, there was a decrease of 43 peafowl counted from 2008 to 2011-12, representing a 21% decrease. Compared to 2008 census totals, peafowl populations are down 7% in Portuguese Bend, 62% in Vista Grande and 10% in Crestridge. Sunnyside Ridge's total increased by 127%, up from 11 in 2008 to 25 in the 2011 to 2012 census.
2008 Census & 2009 Trapping
A 2008 census conducted by a graduate student from the University of California Davis determined that there had been a 53% increase in the overall peafowl population, or 71 total peafowls, since the 2000 census. The increase was primarily in the Vista Grande neighborhood which saw a 207% increase. The city subsequently hired a professional trapper who successfully trapped and relocated 71 peafowls in 2009.
2000 Census & 2001 Trapping
In October of 2000, the city hired Dr. Francine Bradley with the Avian Science Department at the University of California Davis to assess the city's peafowl population and recommend what action the city should take. Dr. Bradley and her team of assistants conducted a population survey as well as identified territorial boundaries, flock activity, and behavior patterns, peafowl impact, origins and appropriate means for population management.
Dr. Bradley focused her attention on neighborhoods within the Los Verdes, Portuguese Bend and Ridgecrest communities based upon resident responses from a direct-mail survey that was sent to various areas of the city. A series of community meetings were held to first gather public input and later to disseminate Dr. Bradley's findings on the city's peafowl population and various population control measures.
On February 20, 2001, the City Council unanimously approved Dr. Bradley's recommendation of a 1-time, city-sponsored demonstration project to trap up to 50 peafowls from private residential properties and to give away the caught birds to ranches and farms that wanted them. The trapping demonstration project was developed to show residents how to build a temporary, manually operated trap designed for peafowl and the appropriate method of trapping the birds. The city's intent was to help minimize the negative impact on residents living in close proximity to large peafowl flocks by reducing the population size, not eliminating the peafowl population.
Due to reported sabotage of traps by peafowl enthusiasts, only 19 of the planned 50 peafowl were trapped. All 19 birds were relocated to large ranches or farms throughout California.