Feeding birds could make you a jailbird in Scottsdale

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In an effort to control bird flocks and the foul messes they leave behind throughout the public parks they live in, the city of Scottsdale has made it illegal for people to feed geese, ducks and pigeons.

If you get caught tossing out bread crumbs or other yummy bits to the birds, you could be fined up to $750 or even face jail time.

The new law making it a class 2 misdemeanor to feed birds in Scottsdale's parks kicked in Friday.

While some habitual bird feeders might find the law silly or unnecessary, city officials say it's actually designed to deal with a serious issue -- keeping the park clean and safe, and not just for the Homo sapiens.

The ordinance is also meant to protect the birds because some human foods can be hazardous to them and cut the costs associated with maintaining the parks. Cleaning up the mess the flocks leave behind in on walkways and in grassy areas can be expensive, not to mention the water quality issues that have cropped up in lakes and ponds.

The bird populations at some parks have grown so drastically that the Arizona Game and Fish Department has had to relocate some of them.

Some of those who fish in the parks' lakes are please with the law, saying the birds can be a nuisance.

Signs advising people of the new law against feeding the birds will be going up in the coming days.

While fines of up to $750 are possible, city attorneys said most fine would probably be in the $50 to $100 range.