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Peafowl in SoCal | Kimball Garrett & Richard Schulhof on KPCC

June 16, 2021

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Peafowl have been in SoCal over 140 years. If they’re in your area, you’ve heard their loud raucous calls. Sharon McNary interviews Kimball Garrett, Ornithology collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and Richard Schulhof, CEO of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden about one of our largest and noisiest avian neighbors.

Link to the program page. Then click the big blue arrow left of the program title.
Listening time: 17:34

From the KPCC Air Talk website:

Owning a peacock was once considered a status symbol, particularly around the turn of the twentieth century. Elias J, “Lucky” Baldwin, founder of Arcadia, imported several pairs of peafowl—known colloquially as peacocks—from India to his Santa Anita Ranchero in 1879. Since then, peafowl have roamed the streets of San Gabriel Valley and even Palos Verdes, which has resumed its bird trapping.

Most recently, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors drafted an ordinance last Tuesday prohibiting the intentional feeding of the bird.

After the show was recorded, Kimball Garrett posted this note on LACoBirds:

Air Talk just aired. Richard Schulhof (CEO of the Arboretum in Arcadia) and I were, I suppose, the “experts.”

I didn’t get a chance to get in my planned pearls of wisdom, e.g.:

(1) peafowl actually fly well (and roost in trees, rooftops); many folks assume they can’t fly
(2) peacock tails are actually rather unspectacular (uniform brownish and not especially long); many people think the train is the tail, when it is actually the upper tail coverts. But LACoBirds folks knew this.
(3) the Pleistocene turkey fossils from Rancho La Brea were actually first described as having belonged to a peafowl (genus Pavo).

Oh well….

Kimball L. Garrett
Ornithology Collections Manager
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

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