It could soon be illegal to feed pigeons in Toronto

By Lucas Casaletto

A motion proposed by Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam will be reviewed on Wednesday that, if passed, will make it illegal for residents to feed pigeons in public and private spaces.

The motion, called “Go Tell It To The Birds Time to Stop Overfeeding Toronto’s Pigeons,” was seconded by fellow councillor Paul Ainslie.

In addition to extending city bylaws to prohibit pigeon feeding in designated areas, it recommends “rapid-response investigation and enforcement which would prioritize any 311 complaints related to pigeon feeding” and “consultation with Toronto Public Health, as appropriate, when developing health and safety strategies to address unsanitary conditions due to excessive amounts of droppings when pigeons are gathered in large numbers.”

“Undoubtedly, Toronto’s pigeon (properly known as the Rock Pigeon Columbia Livia) population has access to abundant food sources – primarily due to their co-existence in spaces heavily occupied by humans,” Wong-Tam wrote in a summary.

“Pigeon feeding by residents is a common practice for reasons ranging from a genuine concern for the birds’ well-being to engaging in social activities and preventing food wastage. Those feeding Toronto’s pigeons may not be conscious of the adverse implications and unintended consequences resulting from their well-intended behaviour.”

[pdf-embedder url=””]

The councillor says that a large flock of the birds “create harmful nuisance” and in addition to causing property damage, say food scraps left by pigeons attract unwanted guests, such as rats.

“Currently, the City of Toronto Parks bylaw prohibits the feeding or attempt to feed or deposit food for consumption by wildlife in parks. However, there are no specific City by-laws that restrict or prevent individuals from feeding wildlife outside of a City park,” Wong-Tam continued.

“As a result, 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.”

Toronto currently allows for pigeons to be kept on properties but with very specific guidelines in place.

The bylaw states that “No person keeping pigeons shall permit the pigeons to stray, perch, roost or rest upon lands, premises or buildings of any person or upon any public place in the City, except on the property of the person keeping the pigeons.”

The Toronto Wildlife Centre says micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi that make pigeons sick are not contagious and do not pose a risk to people.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today