Peacocks are not native to Michigan, but there are wild peacocks in Michigan living in both residential and rural areas.
For some residents who share a neighborhood with peafowl, it’s a quirk and they enjoy seeing these beautiful birds.
For others, peacocks are a nuisance as they cause damage and are noisy.
Here’s a look at how peacocks became wild in Michigan, where you can find them, and what you can do about them:
Why Are There Wild Peacocks in Michigan?
There are wild peacocks and peahens (peacocks are male peafowl and peahens are female peafowl) all over the US.
Peafowl are not native to the US, but over the years they’ve managed to find their way into the ‘wild’ and have populated in numbers.
I’ve seen accounts of peacocks being spotted in all the major cities like, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights, and Lansing to name just a few!
It’s often not known exactly where the first wild peafowl came from, but it’s always assumed that they escaped from some kind of private enclosure.
The first peafowl were brought over to the states in the 1800s to be kept as pets and shown off as an attraction for customers.
Over time they became more popular as pets, would be owned by families with large estates and properties, and roam around amusement parks.
It’s assumed that at some point, peafowl escaped from all over the US where they were being kept and started living wild.
I think what took most people by surprise is just how well peafowl are able to survive in the wild - whether that’s in residential or rural areas.
Peacocks are very good at surviving. They eat just about anything they can find from bugs to plants, roost up in trees to stay safe, and pretty much roam wherever they want.
Related - Why there are wild peacocks in Georgia, California, and Canada.
Are Peacocks Protected In Michigan?
If peacocks are bothering you, I don’t advise you to take matters into your own hands in any way.
I read through the Michigan state legislature governing what you can or can’t do to wild peacocks, but I couldn’t find a conclusive answer.
It’s safe to assume that they are protected by animal cruelty laws. So, if you were to harm any peacocks you could find yourself with a hefty fine or even jail time.
This is certainly the case in some other states, like Florida for example.
In Florida, you can receive a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to a year in prison if you’re found guilty of shooting a peacock.
The best course of action is always to speak with your local office or animal welfare organization and see what they suggest as the best solution.
Where Are Peacocks Native?
First of all, to clear up a common misconception;
Peacocks are male peafowl, which is a species of bird, and females are called peahens.
Most people refer to peafowl as peacocks because it’s the peacocks that have large, colorful tail displays and are more commonly seen at amusement parks and other attractions.
Peahens are rather bland-looking as is often the case in the animal kingdom. They’re a brown/beige color and don’t have those distinctive long tail trains.
Back on topic; there are three main species of peacocks and this is where they’re native to:
Indian Peafowl - This is the most common species of peafowl, the type you’re used to seeing with the iridescent blue and green colored feathers.
They’re native to India, as the name suggests, and are even the national bird of India.
Green Peafowl - The Green Peafowl, also called the Indonesian Peafowl, has green feathers as opposed to blue as the name suggests.
They’re native to Southeast Asia and live in the tropical rainforests. This species is actually listed as being endangered by the IUCN.
Congo Peafowl - The Congo Peafowl, also called the African Peafowl is native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa.
This species is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, so it’s far from thriving just like the Green Peafowl.
Are Wild Peacocks a Nuisance?
Peacocks are not native to residential areas, and they’re certainly capable of causing damage and annoying residents.
Some people don’t mind having peafowl around, but for some people, it’s a complete nightmare.
The main issues that peacocks bring with them are:
Noise pollution - Peacocks make loud honking noises, especially during mating season. It’s the kind of sound you expect to hear in the jungle, not around the neighborhood.
Property damage - Peacocks are large birds and are capable of causing some serious damage to your personal property.
They scratch around most of the day looking for little bugs and insects to eat and tend to ruin flower beds and dig holes in lawns.
Peafowl are also known for damaging vehicles. They tend to lash out when they see their own reflections, which happens in the bodywork of vehicles.
General mess - No one wants to see large amounts of bird poop where they live, especially if you have pets or kids.
Peafowl roost and spend time up in trees. If they inhabit a tree near you, you can expect to see piles of poop around the tree.
I’ve read numerous articles on local news sites about how the residents are divided in areas where peafowl are living.
My best advice is that if you’re finding wild peafowl to be a nuisance where you live, you should go through the correct channels and contact your local office for advice first.
There are loads of wild peacocks in Michigan. Despite not being native to Michigan, they’ve been able to grow in numbers over the years and inhabit residential and rural areas all over the state.
Some people love them, some people hate them.
Whichever side you’re on, I think one thing you should find hard to deny is that peacocks are magnificent birds.
Image credits - Image by S. Nagel from Pixabay