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Town Of Hempstead Outlaws Large-Scale Bird Feedings

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Large-scale bird feedings have been banned in one Long Island town.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the Hempstead Town Board voted uananimously Tuesday for a law that targets property owners who attract many birds with large amounts of food.

The vote came after the Sesslers of Seaford complained that the owner of the boat yard they live next door to was feeding wheelbarrows filled with cornmeal to birds every day, sometimes several times a day.

“There’s north of a couple of hundred birds — pigeons, geese, swans,” said Jeremy Sessler.

As a result of the feedings, birds have been running rampant on the Sesslers’ property, leaving behind foul sights and smells.

“It’s filthy,” said Lara Sessler. “It’s all over our patio, our furniture, our vehicles.”

“The feces that it generates was horrible,” said Eric Schwartz, a home builder. “It was literally blocks away.”

But there was little recourse for the Sesslers. Feeding birds on your own property was legal in America’s biggest township. When talking to their neighbor didn’t help, the Sesslers lobbied for the legislation.

The new law, which will take effect within the month, prohibits residents from feedings that attract at least 10 birds on at least three days within a 15-day period. Violators can be fined up to $1,000 per violation.

“We did ask nicely, but he didn’t want to,” Jeremy Sessler said. “That’s his right, but now that there’s a law in place, it will be the town’s job to enforce the law.”

The new law will not apply to casual bird feeding, which the town encourages.

“The person who wants to feed birds every once in a while, that is perfectly acceptable,” said Town Supervisor Kate Murray. “We love that.”

The boat yard’s owner, Michael Victor, declined to comment Tuesday, but he has previously told CBS 2 he rehabilitates birds and has been feeding them for 20 years, long before the houses around him were built.

The new law won’t prevent Victor from hanging a small bird feeder. But bird experts say in that case, it could take a while for the flock to adapt and go elsewhere.

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