Feathers fly over no-feeding-the-birds order

Couple told to stop feeding birds in their own garden.

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Can you imagine having to pay a fine if you scatter bread crumbs for the pigeons? What about if you feed sparrows in your backyard? It's actually happening in England, of all bird-loving places.

At the end of July, according to the BBC, two West Yorkshire towns passed laws limiting pigeon feeding to between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. daily in certain specific areas.

If you do it any other time, prepare to fork over 75 pounds (about $144). No news on whether you could be fined if you're eating your lunch on a park bench, drop part of your sandwich, and a pigeon snaps it up.

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But that situation is much more understandable than what's happened to a retired couple in Northumberland. After a neighbor complained, the Berwick Upon Tweed council told them that feeding wild birds is a noisy and dirty hobby and ordered them to quit putting out food for sparrows in their own yard.

And the council has threatened to take action against them if they don't cease and desist.

Here's a follow-up in the Northumberland Gazette. (I can't get the URL of the original story in the Sunday Sun to work.)

Given the number of people who feed the birds, you can't imagine that this order is going to stand. But you have to wonder: What they were thinking?

On a happier note, here's a nice story from Newsday about falcons protecting blueberry farms from starlings and blackbirds.

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