An entire street of residents in North Queensland is fuming after their council sent out a letter warning them not to feed local peacocks and other birds over fears it could become a "safety hazard".
"It's way over the top and council has had plenty of cranky phone calls from people in the whole street," the Townsville resident told Yahoo News Australia after receiving the note, which explained that a complaint had been made to council about birds being fed on her property. "The result of which is allegedly causing a noise nuisance and creating mess on adjoining properties," the note states.
However, this resident didn't feed the birds. Nor did others who have received the letter and come forward. And while some locals say the peacocks have been welcome visitors in the area for decades, others had no idea they existed.
"I've had people message me privately because a lot of them had no clue what the letter was for," the resident said, after sharing the note on Facebook. "It's a really long street and most wouldn't know they're here at all. I don't think it's been appreciated by a lot of people and some feel the attention of council should be on a lot more important things."
"The birds are out having a lovely time despite the cranky person who's complained. I have no clue who it is, it's more the council that's annoyed people."
Feeding the birds not illegal
In its letter to residents, Townsville City Council admitted that "the feeding of birds is not a breach of council's local laws", but "the associated noise nuisance, mess and health concerns may impact neighbouring properties and the community at large" which "may amount to a 'community safety hazard' under Subordinate Local Law 3".
The council recommended that residents limit the amount of food available to the birds, limit the time period food is available, and remove any dropped and uneaten food.
"Council appreciates that the feeding of birds in backyards is a common pastime, however council believes these small changes will reduce the impact on the surrounding community," the letter reads.
In sharing the note to Facebook on Monday, the resident said "I'm slightly disappointed with whoever has an issue as we don't own them or feed them. I just find it kinda Karen-ish considering they've been here for a while and I've never had a letter before. It really would have been nice for someone to actually knock on my door to see if we all feel the same."
Ridiculous or courteous?
Other locals on Framara Drive said they'd received the same letter. "I got one too and told the council to come pick their letter up," one woman explained. "I have screaming grandkids I feed, but not peacocks." She went on to say the birds "do make noise early morning and late arvo" but the "dogs in the street who bark at their own shadows are louder".
Another resident said the peacocks had been there for as long as they'd lived in Kelso, which was over 20 years. "They can stay, Karen can go," they wrote online.
While someone slammed the "ridiculous letter about a ridiculous complaint", another described it as "polite and courteous", saying they didn't have a problem with it.
Townsville City Council responds
A spokesperson for Townsville City Council confirmed in a statement to Yahoo that they've "received a number of complaints from local residents regarding the impact of wild birds causing damage on private property, the smell from defecation, noise nuisances and vehicles being scratched", but didn't address the backlash from residents who say they've been unfairly targeted.
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