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Maine City Considers Fining People Who Feed Birds

People who feed birds at South Portland parks and beaches could face fines.

Throwing breadcrumbs to birds is a timeless activity for kids. But what if that pastime landed you a fine of up to $50?

That could be a reality in South Portland, Maine, where city councilors are considering enacting a law that would do just that.

"The food they're supposed to eat is grass and bugs," said City Councilor Maxine Beecher.

Beecher says she thinks the birds in the city's Mill Creek Park are "beautiful" and her kids loved feeding them.

However, after years of people crossing the street to a Hannaford to buy snacks for the avian population, Beecher believes the park has a fowl problem.

"I think they poop every two seconds," she explained. "It'd be nice if we had five of them, but when it's 105, you've got to walk with your head down."

Beecher is supportive of a city initiative that got a first read last week imposing what she envisions as a $25-$50 fine on people caught feeding birds at South Portland parks and beaches.

That includes Mill Creek Park and popular Willard Beach.

The fine would only be levied against people on their second offense. A first offense would only warrant a warning.

Beecher says the city's park ranger may take on an extra part-time staff to help patrol areas affected by the ban, some of which already have clear signs asking the public not to feed birds.

"It's certainly not to be hurtful," she said. "It's supposed to be helpful."

The South Portland City Council has not set a date to vote on the ban, but some city leaders hope to have one enacted by this summer.

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