Saturday, May 26, 2018
News Roundup

Carlton: Sorry humans, South Tampa peacocks win

While much of Tampa deals with a more workaday fowl — backyard chickens: lovable urban pets or trashy farm animals? — it seems somehow appropriate a South Tampa neighborhood of enviable addresses finds itself beset by peacocks.

"They like the south-of-Kennedy atmosphere," theorizes the city's neighborhood services director Jake Slater when I call, meaning Kennedy Boulevard, the divide between South Tampa and Everywhere Else.

They arrived as a pair from no one knows where, exotic and enchanting, and began strutting a circuit around the tree-shaded streets of modest and not-so-modest homes. They spread their tails into iridescence, charming people into leaving birdseed, peanuts and cat kibble out for the taking.

"Mistake number one," says resident Judy Batson. "Once you feed a peacock, you own that peacock."

Some say the Peacocks of Virginia Park remain a mere two. Others claim legions. And if you have ever been close by when a peacock screams in the night — a call that has been likened to a woman being murdered — one may be more than enough for you. "Similar to having a police car do their WHOOP-WHOOP sound right outside your bedroom window," Batson reports.

She is a busy retiree, a cookie-baking grandma and a woman with flowers entwined on her mailbox, and she has had enough of the noise and destruction and "huge poop splatters." "Nuisance peacocks," she calls them.

Still, others remain under their spell, kibble offerings seeming not to have diminished.

For neighbor Rachel Leach, it is love-hate: Her kids, 2 and 5, watch the creatures in their yard with great fascination. But there was the time one fell through her pool screen — and the noise. "They're very loud," she says. But also: "When they put their feathers out, they're definitely beautiful."

Hoping to have them moved, Batson tried everywhere without luck: County animal services, Busch Gardens, the Lowry Park Zoo, Audubon even. Trappers charge money. Florida Fish and Wildlife wrote her: "Complaints of noise or other nuisances caused by peacocks (peafowl) are handled by local authorities through local ordinances or individually as a civil matter." And, really? You can sue a peacock?

No, Virginia Park is not the first neighborhood to get them, just the latest. Finally I spotted one in full strut there. And yes, I would have to count myself as pro-peacock, and also pro-backyard chicken, and can't we all just get along?

Then again, I have not heard one scream outside my window at 3 a.m.

I call the city, and get both bad news for Batson and protection for peacocks:

Tampa, it turns out, has been a bird sanctuary since 1989. According to ordinance 14-176: It is unlawful for any person to hunt, kill, maim or trap … or otherwise molest any domestic bird, song bird, migratory bird, wildfowl or waterfowl … within the corporate limits of the city.

Translation: If you're a bird, "You're pretty safe in the city of Tampa," Slater says.

In fact, a few years back, this gave a reprieve of sorts to some sassy urban chickens strutting Ybor City when some found them annoying instead of just part of the charm.

So what's good for the goose turns out to be also good for the peacock, so to speak — no matter the neighborhood.

Comments
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

RIVERVIEW — A Riverview woman shot and killed her husband Saturday because he punched her father and wouldn’t say sorry, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office said. Sabrina Michelle Hendley, 40, faces a first-degree murder charge in th...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Interesting decision by the Rays to start RH reliever Ryne Stanek on Saturday. The Orioles' Nos. 1 through 5 hitters were righties, and Stanek came in allowing a 1.228 OPS against righties and a .592 OPS against lefties. It ended up working.How ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Hernando officials seize 36 neglected dogs from sanctuary

Hernando officials seize 36 neglected dogs from sanctuary

WEEKI WACHEE — A woman who runs an animal sanctuary will face dozens of animal cruelty charges after Hernando County animal enforcement officers said they found dogs, equine, pigs, cats and chickens housed in poor conditions on her property.Animal of...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Police investigating shooting outside nightclub

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred outside a south St. Petersburg nightclub early Saturday morning.Brennan-Aire D. Williams, 28, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving by cab at Bayfront Health. Police invest...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Woman dies in Plant City after SUV flips off road

PLANT CITY — A Seffner woman died Saturday from injuries sustained when her sports utility vehicle flipped off the road and crashed into a fence near the intersection of Tanner Road and State Road 574.Amanda K. Cepeda-Duque, 21, was traveling west on...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Updated: 8 hours ago