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Toronto considers banning pigeon feeding on public and private property

Researchers have discovered that human hair might be the reason why pigeons lose their toes. (Shutterstock) Researchers have discovered that human hair might be the reason why pigeons lose their toes. (Shutterstock)

Feeding pigeons on public and private property may soon be illegal in Toronto.

City council will review a motion about the “feasibility of expanding the pigeon-feeding prohibition by-laws” this week.

The motion—entitled “Go Tell It To The Birds: Time to Stop Overfeeding Toronto’s Pigeons,” was put forward by Ward 13 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. In it, she says that large flocks of birds create a “harmful nuisance” and interfere with the enjoyment of public and private spaces.

The motion goes on to say that copious amounts of food leftover from pigeon-feeding can attract vermin that carry disease and that bird droppings can create unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.

There is no law in Toronto that prohibits the feeding of wildlife outside of city parks, prompting Wong-Tam to write  there is a "pressing need" to review current bylaws and extend the prohibition on feeding wildlife. 

“Public spaces such as sidewalks, plazas, boulevards, squares, and laneways are overwhelmingly inundated with pigeons who continue to be attracted to these spaces because their food source is abundantly scattered and spread out by residents,” the motion reads.

“Even in the city parks, where such activities are prohibited, the lack of active and ongoing enforcement has rendered scarce green space as unusable. This is especially difficult to accept in densely populated neighbourhoods where such well-maintained and accessible parkland is desperately needed by Toronto families.”

If the motion passes, pigeon-feeding won’t be outlawed right away.

Council is expected to direct the municipal licensing and standards executive director to report back in March 2022 on the bylaw changes, as well as the requirements needed to initiate “rapid-response investigation and enforcement” following 311 complaints related to pigeon feeding.

The city will also consult with Toronto Public Health on strategies to address “unsanitary conditions due to excessive amounts of droppings when pigeons are gathered in large numbers.” Top Stories

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