Feeding of Wildlife ByLaw Amendment

Following a group of concerned residents bringing it forward as an idea, I brought forward to Council the possibility of adding limits to the feeding of wildlife on residential properties in the City. The bylaw amendment currently under discussion would limit residential properties to two bird feeders per property (for a regular sized residential property, ~465 square meters) or an additional one above that for every additional 465 square meters of property.

It would also prohibit the spreading of seed/bread/etc on a property to feed flocks of birds.

The reason I brought this forward was that we have to take action to address the population of rats. I heard this from many residents when campaigning and continue to hear about the concern. We've implemented automated garbage collection (to come to most of the rest of the City this summer), we have rules when land is being cleared or buildings redeveloped, and we have residential property standards. Even with those, there are still food sources for rodents being provided by, in some areas, an abundance of bird feeders, or open feeding.

I personally got rid of my bird feeder in my backyard when I saw a rat eating the seeds being cast away by the birds. (As a side note, there are bird seed types you can get that won't cause birds to cast away other seed,or at least reduces it. Like us, birds eat certain things, but not others, so they kick away certain seed types).

I'm not suggesting we get rid of bird feeding (although, arguably, these birds are wild and survive and thrive without us subsidizing their diets), but rather having rules around it to help address food sources for rodents. As a bird and nature enthusiast myself, I know it makes a lot of people happy to be able to watch the birds at a feeder from their window which is why properties would still be permitted to have two feeders, but that are kept clean and have limits.

The full bylaw amendment is here: pdf page 8 http://www.stjohns.ca/…/Committee_of_the_Whole_Agenda%20-%2…

I would appreciate your feedback! Please send to ifroude@stjohns.ca

Ian Froude