DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — There's a heated debate in the communities surrounding Barwick Road in Delray Beach. Believe it or not, peacocks are at the forefront.
Some residents say the approximately 40 peacocks that roam the area, just north of Lake Ida Road, add to the neighborhood's charm and character. Others say they're nothing more than a noisy health hazard.
Daryl Meyer is one of many residents who are "pro-peacock."
“I understand that they’re non-native and invasive, but so is white man," said Meyer. "So are iguanas.”
Meyer welcomes daily visits from the birds in her Sabal Lakes home.
“They’re awe-inspiring. Have you seen a male open up its feathers? I get chills. It just takes your breath away.”
Sally Daflaaraar, who also lives in Sabal Lakes, says she and her family have grown a personal attachment to the animals.
“One of the reasons I bought that particular house is because of the wild peacocks," says Daflaaraar. "It takes me back to my childhood, you know, going to the zoo and seeing them. Now I don’t need to go to the zoo. They’re right there in my front yard.”
It is unclear exactly how long the peacocks have lived in the area. Many residents say a farmer left them behind many years ago.
"I've been here a long time," says Meyer. "I've been in the neighborhood for 20 years,"
"(I've been here) almost 13 years," adds Daflaaraar.
"They were here before I got here," Meyer said. "So what comes first, the chicken or the egg?"
Just across Barwick Road, homeowner Connie Howard tells a much different story.
They’re dirty. They’re noisy," said Howard.
The birds frequent Howard's home, especially a tall oak tree in her back yard just above her bedroom.
"They live in the tree," said Howard. "They jump across the roof and they make a lot of noise.”
Howard says she understands the appeal, but after living with peacocks for 40 years, she believes the animals have overstayed their welcome.
"We have lots of people who take their kids and that's wonderful. They want to see them and that's great. However, they leave and I'm left with the mess."
Howard hopes to one day see the birds relocated. Meanwhile, many of her neighbors can't imagine life without them.
“No!" Meyer and Daflaaraar said simultaneously. "Nobody that lives around here can imagine the neighborhood without them.”