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Bird feeder arrested for increasing airport bird strikes

In a story reminiscent of the news about Craig Brown, a man in California was arrested for feeding pigeons next to an airport, according to Glendale News-Press.

Before you get too upset at this seemingly outrageous incident, the 59-year-old businessman was repeatedly told to stop feeding birds at his roofing company near the Burbank airport in Los Angeles because the number of bird strikes has been on the rise.

Officials say the actions of Charles Douglas have created a burgeoning flock of pigeons that could be potentially dangerous to the jet planes that fly in and out of the nearby airport.

Here’s what one of the officials said about the increase in the Los Angeles Times:

Airport police Cmdr. Allen Schmitt said a plane strikes a bird at the airport once every two months on average. But the rate of strikes has increased recently, with five incidents in July alone, he added.

“Most of those were multiple — 10 to 20 to 30 birds at once,” Schmitt said. “Now it’s becoming extraordinarily dangerous.”

Douglas’ arrest was actually the tip of the iceberg in months of legal back-and-forth over his violation of municipal codes. He’s been found guilty of feeding pigeons and received a number of court citations over the past few months, but still refused to stop feeding them.

So, with no other options available, he was arrested on suspicion of violating court order. He faces a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

It’s still not clear why Douglas refused to stop feeding the pigeons. Perhaps he has a special bond with them, enjoys feeding birds or wanted to cause havoc. Feeding birds itself is a wonderful activity, but it should be done with discretion. Not only does feeding birds near an airport increase the potential for bird strikes that disable planes, but it also often has fatal consequences for birds.

Feeding birds is great, as long as it doesn’t risk their safety and ours.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

2 Comments

  1. I’m not surprised this joker was jailed for his actions! Promoting large flocks of birds around airports is obviously an incredibly silly thing to do from a safety point of view, but I’d be more concerned with the impact on the birds – more bird strikes promote authorities to take more drastic measures like the mass slaughter of Canadian geese which took part in New York and Amsterdam last year.

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