THE public is being urged not to feed peacocks near a cafe in Pittencrieff Park after concerns were raised by Fife Council.

Volunteers who work with the peacocks say they had received an email about the presence of the birds – and their mess – at the Peacock Cafe which asked them to convey the message that people should refrain from feeding the birds at the eatery.

Carlyn Cane, Peacocks in Pittencrieff Park group's Assistant Lead Peafowl Warden, said the peafowl of Dunfermline have free-roamed around Pittencrieff Park since 1905 and often wander up to the cafe.

"We are aware that Andrew, Hamish and Eva can regularly be seen walking around at the Pavilion," she said.

"With a multitude of other birds and squirrels living in the glen, having the wildlife migrate to the cafe for food is always going to happen, this is natural behaviour in looking for food.

"We have known that the birds are not welcomed there by the management, and we do try our best to encourage them to stay at the aviary but as we are all volunteers, we can only do so much. If we were paid, for the almost full time hours that we put in, perhaps we could rectify this issue more easily, but we need to work.

"We appreciate that the public love seeing the birds up close and personal but we strongly discourage people from feeding them near the café area for the birds' safety.

"We have peanuts and mealworms at the sanctuary for sale within our gift shop if the public want to feed the birds down there."

Carlyn said they know the Glen and its peacocks have a massive draw to the city with their group's Facebook page reaching over 3.7 million people every year.

"We work closely with Carnegie Trust and Fife Council, both of which have done a lot of wonderful work within the park and its looking amazing with many dedicated, caring staff, working together for the best outcome for park, the community and the animals who call it home," she added.

"We are also aware of great plans in place for the future but some unfortunately worded emails from management have put a dampener on good old fashioned communication.

"We are aware that many visitors to the park, visit us and visit the peacock cafe to enjoy a coffee in the beautiful surroundings and we are very aware of the stringent hygiene measures required as a consequence as we clean up daily after 16 birds.

"I am sure that the thousands of visitors to the park will all agree that having these very special and unique birds makes up for a little bit of poo and not giving them a bit of their cheese toastie."

Fife Council's service manager for facilities management, Andrew Stokes, said the peacocks in the Park are a much loved and valued part of Dunfermline’s history.

“People love to come and visit the iconic peacocks in the park and we are hugely indebted to the volunteers who help look after them so well," he said.

"We work closely with the volunteers and the Carnegie Trust to help keep the park a safe and healthy place for the many visitors that come to enjoy the facilities and the wildlife that share the space too.

"Discouraging the birds from gathering at the outdoor café area is not only important for the safety of the birds, but also for hygiene reasons where food is being prepared and eaten. We have information in place at the café so that people understand why they should not feed the birds there.

“Lots of plans are in place for the future of the park including creating a feeding station for the birds near the aviary where they live and new signage in and around the café area. Birds and animals will naturally gravitate towards known food sources and it will take time for feeding habits to change.

“In the meantime, we will continue to encourage visitors to the café to help us by following the guidance there and support the volunteers with the important work they do to look after the welfare of our feathered friends.”