No one who can sleep through the sounds of a woman being murdered would call peacocks noisy. The loud, repeated screams wouldn't bother them a bit. Others, however, might object to the midnight ruckus, especially if the sounds aren't coming from a human but from a bird -- a peacock.
The noise that gets this gorgeous bird into trouble is either a mating call or an alarm call. In either case, it's a loud "Ah-AAAAAH" that can register 100+ on the shriek-o-meter and can be heard as far as five miles away. Trouble, in the form of a predatory tiger, housecat, dog or other dangerous or unfamiliar animal, can come at any time, but love is, for peafowl, predictable. It starts in the early spring (which can begin as early as February in the southern U.S.) and continues for about six weeks. Then it's all night, every night, sometimes well into summer further north. This noise barrage and interrupted sleep can generate some pretty irate complaints and run peafowl afoul of local noise pollution ordinances, especially if groups or "parties" are roosting in trees or on rooftops in a populated area.
Aside from the raucous calls, peafowl make as many as 10 other noises that are less ear-piercingly offensive. These include honking like a goose, a lower-level alarm call used when something unusual confronts the feeding flock in the daytime. It may be a strange person or just a plastic bag blowing by, but the entire flock (or "muster," or "pride") will puff up, sound off and march over to investigate. If they're satisfied there's no threat, they'll go back to foraging for bugs and seeds. If they're still uneasy, they'll cluck almost like chickens.
Peafowl enthusiasts can minimize noise by locating their birds as far from the neighbors as possible and enclosing them at night in an appropriate-size and insulated shelter, where they are less likely to become alarmed and call. There will be times, though, when they will still make noise -- they just can't help responding to Cupid's call.
Noise Pollution Solution
If invaded by peafowl, trim low-hanging tree branches that may attract then as a roost; it's tree-roosting peacocks that call at night. Other defensive measures include keeping compost heaps covered -- they contain both insects and seeds. Empty birdfeeders and keep pet food inside. Replant destroyed and damaged plantings with things that peacocks don't like, such as azaleas, oleanders, hibiscus and ferns. If confronted, squirt them with water.
- Baltimore Bird Club: Group Names for Birds: A Partial List
- Christian Science Monitor, 12/31/2009: Peacocks Become a Colorful Problem in Florida
- Bird Trader: How to Keep a Peacock Quiet
- The Data Lounge: Peacocks at Night
- City of Cape Canaveral: Living with Peacocks
- Box Secure File Sharing: Flowers and Peacocks
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images