Possible Change in Rules on Feeding Wildlife in NYC Parks

Bird-feeding enthusiast? Well, listen up. You may have a limited amount of time to feed your last pigeon. There’s been a proposed change in the rules on feeding wildlife in NYC parks, and a public hearing about it will be taking place this Friday. One reason the Parks Department wants to prohibit the feeding of birds and squirrels in NYC parks is that the bird leftovers are attracting rats.

Parks Department spokesperson Meghan Lalor says that “food left on the ground is an open invitation for rodents to congregate for a free meal”. She hopes that this change will help “keep our parks safe and clean”.  Park officials also added that this change would cut down on disruptions to the wildlife and their natural habitat, and could reduce the potential for disease spreading at feeding sites.

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In addition, those in favor on the rule change argue that food for humans is bad for animals, regardless of how much we’ve enjoyed furry celebs like the Egg Roll Squirrel, the Avocado Squirrel, and of course, the Pizza Rat.

However, some are less than enthused about this change in rules. Bird watching enthusiasts have voiced their opposition, citing the importance of an NYC tradition dating back to 1898.

Enthusiasts also dispute the Parks Department’s claim that those who feed animals in parks cause harm to the wildlife. One bird watching enthusiast, Sarah Katz, says she is “engaging in an experience that is educational and serves to enhance her life”. Katz also claims that people who feed the birds are “aware of the proper foods” to feed the animals.

New Yorkers with a stake in the matter can submit their comments using the city’s rules website  before March 1st, or can attend the public hearing on Friday, March 1st at 12pm. The hearing will take place at the Pelham Fritz Recreation Center on Mount Morris Park West and West 122nd Street.

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Hannah Rosenfield

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Hannah Rosenfield is an avid writer and new resident of the Upper West Side. She graduated from Binghamton University in May of 2018, after studying Creative Writing and works in advertising. In her free time, Hannah loves reading the New York Times food section, petting all the dogs on the Upper West Side, and strolling through Central Park.

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