‘They’re not just beautiful’: South Omaha residents split over peacock conundrum

A South Omaha neighborhood is dealing with what neighbors call a "peacock problem."
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 10:13 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Omaha neighborhood near 51st and L is experiencing what resident Marianna DiStefano calls a peacock problem.

“You feel like you’re in a jungle,” she said. “And you know they’re not just beautiful. They’re a nuisance.”

6 News first did a story on this in 2016 and since then the flock has grown. At that time, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium said the peacocks did not come from the zoo. The Nebraska Humane Society said a resident may have had peacocks as pets nearby and the population grew over time, evolving into a wild flock.

“At any given time, we’ll have about 14 of them,” said Paul Graner, another nearby resident.

The neighborhood hasn’t come to a consensus on what to do with the non-native birds.

“I had a friend that was in the driveway and a peacock went to fly into my tree and almost clipped her head,” said DiStefano.

Graner is a bit more indifferent: “They become annoying, screaming all day long but no, they’re good animals.”

DiStefano wants them gone.

“Nobody seems to be able to do anything about it,” she said.

DiStefano tried the Mayor’s Hotline, Nebraska Game and Parks and the Nebraska Humane Society.

“I wish I had a hard and fast answer, but I really can’t say that,” said Steve Glandt, vice president of field operations at the Nebraska Humane Society.

If a peacock harmed a person or damaged property then they’d step in. Otherwise, they have to treat it like a flock of wild turkeys and let them be.

The NHS website says, “Officers are not authorized to trap healthy or non-threatening wildlife simply for relocation.”

It directs residents to the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Inc. for encroaching wildlife. However, when 6 News called Nebraska Wildlife Rehab Inc., a representative said they deal with Nebraska-native wildlife, which peacocks are not. She did say if a peacock is injured they will take it in to care for.

“As far as the Nebraska Humane Society, we really don’t have the personnel strength or the resources with these cages and things like that to even attempt to trap something,” said Glandt. “And then if we do, we have to determine whether are we legally able to relocate, which I don’t think we are.”

State guidelines restrict how far NHS can release trapped wildlife away from their original habitat. Glandt also said it is illegal to kill or tranquilize the birds.

Without any clear process for handling the birds, some residents here just have to deal with the foul situation.