North Bay news: New by-law bars feeding pigeons

A new city by-law in North Bay bars people from feeding pigeons. City councillors adopted the proposed by-law after receiving complaints from residents.

These complaints include health concerns and property damage from an increase in the pigeon population.

These increased populations, the city said, are a direct result of feeding. Many locations that have never had pigeons now have increasing populations due to a single feeding site.

Following in the footsteps of other municipalities, the city passed the no-feeding pigeon by-law. It now allows by-law officers to go to pigeon-feeding sites and stop the activity. It also restricts people from feeding the birds or throwing food on the ground for them.

“Once one or a few come, more start to come and then it becomes a part of their routine as well. That’s when we start to see the issues,” said Deputy Major Maggie Horsfield.

Horsfield said a resident would be warned, however, if it continued, a fine would be issued. The by-law applies to properties in the city and does not apply to a licensed trapper, an employee of a licensed wildlife or pest-control company, a municipal by-law enforcement officer, a City of North Bay contract by-law enforcement officer , or any provincial offensives officer.

It also does not apply to people feeding songbirds; providing all of the following conditions are met:

  • the seed is placed in a bird feeder that is sufficiently above grade so as not to allow pigeons to eat from it
  • the bird feeder is constructed in such a way as to prevent pigeons from roosting and feeding from it
  • the bird feeder does not attract pigeons to the device
  • any spillage of seed upon the ground is completely removed forthwith so that the spilled seeds do not attract pigeons

“We’re not trying to target those who are feeding through bird feeders,” said Horsfield.

“Those who are specifically feeding pigeons and attracting those large quantities of pigeons.”

In 1978, there was a by-law in place that dealt with the liability for damages done by raised pigeons that escaped. It stated any damages would be a civil matter.

That by-law was repeated nine years ago as it was deemed not necessary as any damages done by raised pigeons to other property would be a civil matter without a by-law in place.

“Where we’re seeing issues between neighbors or disputes is with feeding pigeons,” said Horsfield. “Even Health Canada has come out with different information about why feeding pigeons should be discouraged.”

A resident caught feeding pigeons would be warned. If it continues, a fine will be issued.

Fines range from $100, city officials said any person obstructing or failing to comply with the by-law will likely face a fine of $200.

A copy of the newly adopted bylaw can be found here.

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