The pigeons at Burbank's airports are about to go on a forced diet. California resident Charles Douglas, local business owner and bird enthusiast, was arrested for creating a public nuisance by feeding pigeons.
Douglas, 59, is the owner of Precise Roofing Co. in Burbank. He's been feeding pigeons since at least September 2010, according to authorities.
Douglas was arrested after two court citations. A court then gave a bench warrant for his arrest. Police arrested Douglas at his business last Friday.
Douglas denies feeding the pigeons, though he admits that he used to feed a flock of doves. But, he insists that he stopped feeding the doves after he was convicted of a misdemeanor for illegally feeding the birds in December 2010, reports the AP.
Why is bird feeding considered a public nuisance?
Maybe it's because feeding birds creates a larger bird population. And, having a big bird population right next to an airport that is routinely sending planes into the air can create safety problems.
Birds often do strike planes when they are in the air. At Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, the rate is usually around one bird strike every two months, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Recent statistics have shown an increase in bird strikes. In July alone, there were five incidents of birds striking planes. And, these instances did not just involve one errant bird. These instances often involved multiple birds, up to 20 or 30 at a time, reports the Los Angeles Times. This becomes much more dangerous.
While there is a policy to mitigate the pigeons at Burbank Airport, these policies do not apply to non-airport property. As a result, it's likely difficult to fully control the bird population. This is probably the reason why authorities are cracking down on suspected pigeon-feeders like Charles Douglas. Douglas' misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine each, the Los Angeles Times reports.