Feed The Pigeons, You Say? Six Months In Jail For You!

Uptown Alderman Wants To Make It A Crime To Feed Pigeons

December 13, 2012 5:30 PM

Scores of pigeons swarm to pick up potato chip crumbs outside the Wilson stop on the CTA Red Line. (Credit: CBS)

Scores of pigeons swarm to pick up potato chip crumbs outside the Wilson stop on the CTA Red Line. (Credit: CBS)

Dana KozlovReporting Dana Kozlov

CHICAGO (CBS) – Pigeons; they’re tolerated at best, hated at worst. Now, one Chicago alderman wants to make it a crime to feed pigeons.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports some people are calling the proposal by Ald. James Cappelman (46th) a bird-brained idea.

Uptown, downtown – pigeons are everywhere in Chicago.

Thursday morning, Barb Wambach was visiting the Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza – where dozens of pigeons gather every day, keeping warm by the eternal flame – when she got an unpleasant surprise dropped on the boot-shaped mug she was holding.

“I moved my cup, and it felt like something plopped in it,” Wambach said. After a group of pigeons flew overhead, she found a splattering of bird droppings on her mug.

It’s that threat to everyday living, that fear of walking under a viaduct, the scourge of flying birds that Cappelman wants to eradicate.
He has introduced an ordinance that would significantly increase the penalties for feeding pigeons – making it a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Cappelman wasn’t available Thursday to discuss his proposal, but he told other aldermen he’s tired of encountering a scene from a Hitchcock movie every time he walks to the Wilson station on the CTA Red Line.

Scores – if not hundreds – of the birds perch at the station, just waiting to be fed. A huge flock of them swarmed down to the sidewalk Thursday afternoon to descend on some potato chip crumbs like hunters on prey.

“They’re a nuisance. They’re everywhere. You know, you could stand there waiting on the bus and they’re all over your feet,” Bobby Williams said outside the Wilson stop. “I think it should be illegal to feed them.”

It’s already a city code violation to feed pigeons – as signs at the Wilson stop indicate – punishable by a fine of up to $500. Cappelman’s proposal would double the maximum fine and add the possibility of up to six months in jail.

“They’re gonna arrest someone for feeding a bird?” Lily Norton said. “That’s kind of ridiculous.”

“It’s silly. He should be focusing on other problems,” Oliver Guyton said. “Like the budget and all that type of stuff that aldermen do.”

In May, Cappelman was assaulted by a woman in Uptown, after he started sweeping away the breadcrumbs she had spread on the ground for pigeons near Broadway and Wilson Avenue.

At the time, the alderman said the area is littered with breadcrumbs every day and has a serious pigeon problem. He has also said the breadcrumbs people leave for the birds could attract rats, too, so his staff regularly cleans up breadcrumbs left on the streets.


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Reposted by Michael Patrick McCarty

[Mike’s Note]

Beware The Public Serpent

Bureaucrats across the land are using administrative decrees and color of law to criminalize otherwise harmless acts in an effort to demoralize and intimidate average citizens. These so called “authorities” now dictate what you may or may not do on your own private property or public commons. It is always done under the auspices of the public good.

In some jurisdictions it is illegal to grow a home garden, tend a few chickens for some backyard fresh eggs, or even feed your local wild birds at your well weathered bird feeder.

I’ve often wondered just how many laws and regulations that I unknowingly break each and every day. What would the founding fathers of the United States have to say about that?

Just say no, is one thing they would shout until it hurt!

Without a shade of doubt, there will be more senseless and dehumanizing laws on the books tomorrow. Found guilty until proven innocent, and without a jury of your peers, judgement will be swift and sure and may carry serious or compounding penalties. 

They shall make criminals of us all. This type of unmitigated power grab will only stop when “we the people” stand up and decide to stop it, in one clear and unshakable voice.

After all, do you really wish to go to jail over a hungry and hopeful pigeon?

Food Freedom!


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