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Hempstead restricts feeding pigeons, waterfowl

Jeremy Sessler's neighbor, Michael Victor, pours bird feed

Jeremy Sessler's neighbor, Michael Victor, pours bird feed into a trough while feeding the geese, ducks, pigeons, swans and seagulls on his Seaford property. Sessler (not pictured) petitioned for a law regulating or banning the feeding of wild birds because he says the birds end up making a mess of his property. The photo was taken from the second floor of Sessler's house. (Dec. 14, 2013) Credit: Brad Penner

Hempstead Town Tuesday unanimously adopted a law that restricts feeding pigeons, ducks and geese.

The town board, in a 7-0 vote, approved the law in response to complaints from residents that feeding, especially in waterfront areas, was inundating properties with birds and their droppings.

"Overfeeding in residential neighborhoods and near waterways results in attracting huge numbers of 'nuisance birds' to areas where neighbors live, work and raise their families," Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement before the vote.

The law prohibits excessive feeding of pigeons and migratory waterfowl but does not prevent residents from putting bird feeders on their properties.

A violation of the new law is defined as feeding that attracts at least 10 birds on at least three days within a 15-day period.

Fines can be as much as $1,000 for the first violation, $2,500 for the second and $5,000 for the third, town spokesman Mike Deery said.

The town crafted the law because of reports that "hundreds of birds and geese were being fed large quantities of food on a regular basis, creating a mess and even damaging the exteriors of homes in local communities," Hempstead officials said in a statement.

The three residents who spoke at Tuesday's public hearing on the law supported the restrictions. Jeremy Sessler of Seaford said he pushed for the law because his Ocean Avenue home sometimes has 25 to 50 birds -- mostly Canada geese -- on the front lawn because neighbors overfeed and attract birds. "This [the law] is good for both the residents and birds," Sessler said after the hearing. "We now look to the town to enforce this code to protect residents."


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