One of the best places for pigeons is at Markham Rd. and Lawrence Ave., where a perpetual buffet of birdie num num is on the menu.
It is also a bad place to be a pedestrian or a TTC rider. After they dine, the birds roost on overhead utility wires to digest their meal and then deposit wet, smelly droppings on the sidewalk and people below.
We’ve had several complaints over the past few years about the hundreds of pigeons drawn to the southwest corner of the busy intersection by food scattered across a parking lot.
The bird lovers’ hearts are in the right place, but the mess created by the huge number of pigeons attracted to the food is the bane of people who catch the bus at a TTC stop on the corner.
A reader told us he’s been twice bombed on his way to the TTC stop, adding that he’s heard it’s a sign of good luck to be pooped on by a bird but doesn’t believe it.
“They sit on the wires and s– on everything below,” said the reader, who asked not to be named. “One time I could see it falling in front of me, like it was raining bird s–.”
We’ve gone there several times and seen hundreds of pigeons and a few seagulls pecking at seed in the parking lot, while others that had finished dining roosted wing-to-wing on wires on the east side of Lawrence, waiting to drop a surprise on a hapless victim.
The sidewalk below the wires had a residue of guano on it, but we thought it would have been much worse. Plentiful rainfall over the past few weeks has likely washed away some of it.
Dumped next to a concrete barrier on the north side of the parking lot was a huge pile of stale white bread cut into pieces — enough to fill a couple big garbage bags — along with several pounds of white rice.
The situation raises a couple questions, like who’s doing it and what can be done, if anything, to stop them.
STATUS: We asked the city if any rules prohibit the feeding of birds. City spokesperson Angelica Santos sent us an email that said “feeding wildlife can increase the population of wild animals in a community and cause the animal to lose its natural fear of people.” Yeah, but we’re talking about pigeons, not raccoons or bears. Santos went on to cite bylaws that say “a person feeding wildlife in a public area can be fined by the city, if the person is observed by an officer throwing waste.” In other words, unless a bylaw enforcement officer stakes out the parking lot and catches someone feeding them, there are no repercussions. We also found a page on the city’s website that says “there are no specific bylaws that restrict the feeding of wildlife outside of a city park.” Since the feeding is done in a private parking lot, it looks the feeders are home free.
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