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Hundreds of pigeons perched on nearby roofs. Droppings covering neighbors' yards. Community parks blanketed with birds.

These were just a few of the scenes described by Phoenix residents who say their neighbors feed pigeons and attract the nuisance birds in droves to their neighborhoods

The residents came before the Phoenix City Council Wednesday to encourage the council to pass a new ordinance prohibiting the feeding of wild pigeons — a request the council granted.

Prior to the council's decision, the city only regulated the keeping of pigeons — not the feeding of them.

In large numbers, pigeons can carry diseases. Their waste is acidic and can damage paint on vehicles, and they give off an unpleasant odor.

"Once you have them, it's very difficult to get rid of pigeons," Councilwoman Thelda Williams said earlier this year.

How would the ordinance work?

The city will enforce the new ordinance if it receives signed complaints from three separate households.

"(The requirement of three complaints) would reduce the possibility of neighbors using this as a harassment tool against one another," Neighborhood Services Director Spencer Self said at a subcommittee meeting.

The penalties for feeding wild birds will be the same as the city's penalties for other nuisance violations: a minimum fine of $150 with a cap of $2,500. A violator can be charged either civilly or criminally.

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Following Tempe's lead

Last summer, Tempe added the feeding of wild birds as a "nuisance" crime, which motivated residents to ask for similar regulation in Phoenix. 

Williams said a resident sent her nightmarish photos of a roof in her neighborhood covered in pigeons, prompting her to work on the ordinance. 

MORE: Tempe residents should think twice before feeding birds

"I don't want to stop people from feeding wild birds. But that's obnoxious and I certainly wouldn't want that on a daily basis," Williams said at the meeting, referring to the resident's photo.

Williams said she's spoken with the complaining resident, who believes the pigeon problem in her neighborhood is the result of a neighbor feeding the birds.

Williams said the resident told her she has pigeon droppings all over her house and yard every day.

"I think it is a health concern besides being a nuisance," Williams said.

Reach the reporter at jessica.boehm@gannett.com or 480-694-1823. Follow her on Twitter @jboehm_NEWS

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