Is it against the law to feed birds? Pensioner threatened with fine

Birds can survive perfectly well without humans feeding them (Getty Images)
Birds can survive perfectly well without humans feeding them (Getty Images)

A 97-year-old woman is now hesitant to feed the birds in her back garden after she was threatened with a fine.

After being accused of engaging in antisocial activity, retired music teacher Anne Seago claims she can't even bring herself to gaze out of her conservatory windows to see the sparrows and robins.

The Daily Mail reported that Mrs Seago was targeted by council authorities for two years following a neighbour's complaint that her bird table attracted pigeons and seagulls, which resulted in an annoyance.

Mrs Seago was sent a "written warning" earlier this month by the council, threatening to fine her £100 and issue her with a community protection notice if her "anti-social behaviour" continued.

Feeding wild birds is "unreasonable and is having a detrimental effect on neighbouring residents", according to the letter.

But is it against the law to feed birds and how should you feed them without attracting rats? Here's what we know.

Is it against the law to feed birds?

There are no laws preventing people from feeding birds.

But if a lot of bad food builds up or if the feeding is drawing rodents like mice or rats, the council may intervene.

A lot of people like feeding birds and enjoying the city's fauna. Birds can, however, occasionally be a problem, particularly when they are numerous.

Bird droppings can cause structural damage and masonry corrosion due to their acidic nature. When rainy, droppings on pavements can become slick and dangerous for pedestrians.

Droppings, nest materials and deceased birds can clog drains and gutters, risking structural damage caused by water.

What to feed birds

Fruit will appeal to blackbirds and thrushes, particularly bruised apples and pears.

Pastry, cooked rice and breadcrumbs are examples of household waste that should be provided rarely in modest amounts.

How to feed birds without attracting rats

To provide food for birds in your garden:

There is no risk of starvation for the birds if the food is gradually reduced. They will naturally stop reproducing and look for food elsewhere. Populations can be reduced in a humane manner in this way.