Alderman wants to make it a crime to feed the pigeons
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter email@example.com December 12, 2012 7:24PM
Ald. James Cappleman (46th) | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times file photo
Updated: January 14, 2013 7:33AM
Ald. James Cappleman (46th) says he’s tired of sitting back and watching portions of his Uptown ward turned into a scene from the Alfred Hitchcock movie, “The Birds” with the layers of pigeon droppings that go with it.
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Cappleman introduced an ordinance that would make it a crime to feed pigeons on the public way.
Violators would face up to six months in jail and a fine as high as $1,000.
Cappleman said a pair of pigeon feeders are making life miserable for his North Side constituents. They include a woman who attacked the alderman in May.
They feed pigeons three or four pounds of bread four times a day, prompting the birds to return in huge numbers, the alderman said. The offenders persist even after repeated arrests.
“This is our way of saying this is really hurting the community. It’s hurting the businesses. We have to put a stop to it,” Cappleman said.
The alderman acknowledged that some pigeon feeders suffer from mental illness. But he made no apologies for getting tough.
“Come with me to the Wilson L station and the Lawrence L station where we have around 800 pigeons that are now scaring people who are afraid to walk through a corridor,” he said.
“The CTA has said the pigeon excrement is about a fourth of an inch thick and they’ll clean it and within a week, it’s back to the way it was before.”
In June, Cappleman was shoved and pelted with bread crumbs by an Uptown woman known as the “Pigeon Lady.” The 59-year-old woman was charged with battery for allegedly pushing him in a confrontation over feeding pigeons.
Cappleman said he saw bread crumbs on the ground near Broadway and Wilson and began to sweep them up when the woman shoved him hard enough to push him into the street, then and threw a handful of bread crumbs at him.