Bird Feeders
A man who lives near the Bob Hope Airport has been arrested for feeding birds. Image: Flickr / kmuncie / CC-BY

In California, 59-year-old Charles Douglas has been arrested for feeding local birds. Police had reportedly given Douglas several warnings for feeding birds close to the Burbank airport.

Douglas arrested for feeding pigeons

Charles Douglas is a bird lover who lives near the airport in Burbank, Calif. For the last year, Douglas and the Burbank police have been locked in a battle. Douglas has been cited multiple times for feeding pigeons near the Bob Hope Airport. Douglas claims that he stopped feeding the birds in December, after the city took him to court. Police officers, however, arrested Douglas on suspicion of violating a court order by spreading birdseed in the alley near his home.

The problem with pigeon feeding

Feeding birds may seem like an innocuous hobby. Near airports, however, people can be arrested for feeding pigeons because it is not safe. Bird-and-airplane collisions cause more than $600 million in damage in the United States and more than 200 deaths worldwide since 1988. By feeding birds near the Bob Hope airport, Charles Douglas was increasing the likelihood of bird strikes in the airport, increasing the risk of serious damage or potential airplane crashes.

Punishment Douglas is facing

Since being arrested, Douglas has posted his $5,000 bail bond payment. If the courts find Douglas guilty of the filed charges, he could be fined $1,000 or put in prison for up to six months. The Airport Police of Bob Hope Airport have indicated that bird strikes at the airport have gone up recently; there were five hit in July.

Airports spend millions to control birds

Airports have been approaching the problem of bird strikes with preventative actions as well as reaction. Many airports are using recorded predator calls, sonic cannons and even trained falcons to make airports less attractive to birds. Environmental controls, such as removing nesting areas on airport property, also help reduce bird traffic.

Sources

CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20095876-504083.html
MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44235899/ns/local_news-los_angeles_ca/t/burbank-man-arrested-feeding-pigeons/#.TlPaT2OP-_0
The Auk: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3793/is_200207/ai_n9133434/
About.com: http://birding.about.com/od/birdconservation/a/birdstrikes.htm

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