Don't Feed The Birds!
When Feeding Birds Could Land You in Jail
Feeding wild birds is generally a good thing and so those in your back garden are unlikely to land you in hot water, unless your neighbour has a bird phobia! But feeding pigeons can be problematic. Pigeon poop can cause a huge amount of damage to buildings and some people view these birds as flying rats. You are unlikely to make yourself very popular if you feed pigeons in public places.
Many cities have banned the feeding of pigeons in certain areas to protect the buildings and the businesses of local people. The days of seeing thousands of these birds milling around in Trafalgar square are certainly long gone. But some people enjoy interacting with pigeons and may not have a garden in which to put up feeders for wild birds. For them, niger seed and wild bird mix in the back yard is not an option.
A Living From Pigeons?
In Bath, there is even one chap who makes his living from pigeon feeding. But he is now in big trouble and is facing a spell in jail.
The Pigeon Man
Paul Carlton is known as "Pigeon Man" in the historic city of Bath. He feeds the pigeons and attracts large crowds of the birds. He then allows the birds to sit on his head and arms. This draws in people who he then charges for pigeon food to offer to the birds.
Fine and Prison Threat
Unfortunately for Mr Carlton, pigeon feeding in the city is outlawed. He has been fined £300 and slapped with a Community Protection Notice in the past but has breached this notice on several occasions leading to a number of convictions. As he has refused to desist from feeding the birds he has now been handed a two-year Criminal Behaviour Order and warned that breaching it could lead to a spell in prison.
Paul Carlton remains dedicated to feeding the pigeons and appears to have no intention of stopping. He defiantly sent a message to magistrates that he will carry on and that he would go to jail rather than pay his fines.
Happy Customers and a Cake Shop
He has made his living out of the pigeon feeding for four years and believes that he makes people happy. He probably does but perhaps not the manager of a café adjacent to one of his preferred feeding locations. She has told the courts that the birds make her customers who are sitting outside very uncomfortable and cause hygiene issues. The birds have even flown into the café on several occasions and have landed on her cakes!
Perhaps Paul Carlton needs to find another way of making a living! He should turn his attention to the wild birds in Bath’s parks which people do want to see and perhaps teach them to sit on his arms. That niger seed could come in handy after all!