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Despite the Law, Pigeon Feeding Abounds

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, November 04, 2008, at 08:46AM
Pigeons Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Pigeons crowd to feed on bird seed poured out by an older man passing next to Lower Angels Knoll.

Saturday morning at 11:30am, an older Asian man walked through the small park next to Lower Angels Knoll carrying a bag. He came to a concrete ledge curving around the sidewalk and poured a steady stream of birdseed about eight feet long before walking away, barely breaking stride the whole time.

It took a couple minutes for any nearby birds to notice, but quickly dozens of pigeons descended to crowd and claw their way to the food.

The man had committed a misdemeanor, violating Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 53.43, which says that

No person shall feed any pigeons upon any public street or sidewalk or in any public park in that portion of this City bounded and described as follows...

The convoluted area that follows includes the Historic Core and Financial District, but not Bunker Hill.

The law's been on the books for almost fifty years, and has been completely unenforced for just that long.

In March of 1961 the Times looked at pigeon feeding in Pershing Square.

[A]t Pershing Square, the feeders are a shifty-eyed, suspicious lot, casting nervous glances over their shoulders as they scatter their crumbs and grains.

They are all aware of the ordinance and violate it determinedly and apparently with some moral support of people supposed to enforce it.

There are no signs posted and park attendants say they have orders not to post any.

Attendants and policeman take elaborate pains to ignore the pigeon feeders.

In 1985, a city official told the Times that he did not think anyone had ever been prosecuted because of the law. It's unlikely that that's changed in the twenty-plus years since.

But yet, the law stays and continues to get ignored around Downtown daily.


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