Phoenix Works On Pigeon Nuisance Ordinance

By Christina Estes
Published: Friday, February 15, 2019 - 7:25am

Pigeon on landing
Christina Estes/KJZZ
On June 6, 2019, Phoenix council members approved an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of pigeons.

Phoenix could follow in Tempe’s footsteps when it comes to wild pigeons. The city is working on an ordinance to address pigeon nuisances.

A complaint from a homeowner about a neighbor feeding wild pigeons sparked the action. Mayor Thelda Williams said it’s serious. 

“I’ve talked to this woman a couple times,” she said. “Her yard is a mess. Her house has droppings all over it and this is an every day occurrence. I have great sympathy for her. I just don’t think that ought to be allowed because I think it is a health concern besides being a nuisance.”

She and other members of the public safety subcommittee recently directed staff to craft an ordinance after one in Tempe. It says keeping or feeding outdoor birds is a nuisance when frequent defecation annoys or disturbs a neighborhood. It requires at least three witnesses from separate households to sign a complaint, but also provides discretion for city workers to enforce the ordinance if there is a clear nuisance.

Spencer Self, director of Neighborhood Services, told the subcommittee that since Tempe enacted its ordinance last summer it has received a handful of complaints but hasn’t had to go to enforcement. Instead, he said they’ve been able to educate residents and get them to stop feeding wild birds.

“In large numbers they can carry diseases that are transferable to humans,” Self said. “Their waste is acidic and it can damage the paint on vehicles and other property, not to mention the odor and just general visual blight that they represent.”

The full council must vote on the ordinance.

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