By John Mullen
It’s no secret getting around Orange Beach during the busy summer season can sometimes be a challenge. But maybe city leaders can take a few pointers from a pair of peahens – female peacocks – that have had no problem getting around town since their unexpected arrival in March.
The peahens were part of a lively discussion during the bi-monthly city council sessions along with a boat abandoned on the jetty seawall at Perdido Pass and stinking fish carcasses.
“They’ve made the circle from The Wharf to Publix to Zeke’s, to the Waffle House, to the east side of the pass and back over here to East Orange Beach,” Wade Stevens of the Coastal Resources Department said. “They were likely released by someone. They were first seen as Juveniles in March near Swift Supply and the Wharf area and reported as wild turkeys.
“There were no reports for quite a while then they surfaced in the same area in late April or early May. Since then they have made the rounds all over town.”
Pictures of the visitors have been sent in from several areas.
“There’s just these two?” City Administrator Ken Grimes asked. “And they’re showing up in all these pictures all over town?”
Councilman Jeff Silvers said he’s been fielding calls about the elusive critters.
“I was wondering about getting the peahens trapped and out of the neighborhoods, off of cars, defecating everywhere,” Silvers said. “They’ve become a nuisance.
And, smart, too, Stevens said. He believes some residents may be feeding them and that’s why they are still around.
“We’re in a situation where half the people love ‘em and half the people hate ‘em,” Stevens said. “They’re still in the east Orange Beach area if we can get them. We don’t encourage providing food. We’ll continue to try to get them.”
The wily birds are now familiar with city staffers and have become adept at eluding capture.
“They know when we’re coming now so we can’t get close enough for a capture,” Stevens said. “When caught they will likely be given to one of several individuals who have shown an interest and have land in the area and have peacocks already.”
Mayor Tony Kennon said the city needs to be proactive and enforce laws against dumping fish carcasses in the canals and waterways around the city.
“We’re going to make a statement,” Kennon said. “We need to get with the marine guys and make a concerted effort to try and write tickets. We hate to do that but this has gone on long enough. We’ve been very nice. We’ve got to make a statement.”
With snapper season in full swing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day and the full week of the Fourth of July, the problem of stinking carcasses comes up annually.
“Fortunately, the problem is probably going to linger on a little bit longer because our season is longer,” Silvers said. “Even in front of Fisher’s and restaurants where folks are sitting downstairs the canal empties up into the front. Jimmy Beason of Orange Beach Marina told people prior to snapper season if anyone wants to bring fish carcasses down to his marina and drop them off he will take care of them.”
Marshall Carroll lives on Carondelette in the neighborhood just north of Cotton Bayou and says the fish are causing a problem in the canal behind his house.
“Those fish carcasses, a few weeks ago I went out in the area was just stinking,” he said. “I counted 12 carcasses floating in there. It literally turns that canal into a sewer. There are kids playing in the canal on kayaks, they swim there.”
Besides the stepped patrols Kennon said the city will look at putting signs up along the canals and at boat launches for the remainder o