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St. John’s councillor suggests limiting bird feeders to address rat problems

St. John’s Coun. Ian Froude hopes to combat rat problems in St John’s by reducing their food supply – limiting each household to two bird feeders.
St. John’s Coun. Ian Froude hopes to combat rat problems in St John’s by reducing their food supply – limiting each household to two bird feeders. - Juanita Mercer

‘It’s definitely created quite the flutter of conversation’: Froude

St. John’s Coun. Ian Froude isn’t trying to ruffle any feathers, but that may be the case for some bird-loving residents.

In an effort to control the rat population, Froude is suggesting the city put limits on the number of bird feeders each household is allowed.

The city’s feeding of wildlife bylaw would be amended to limit residential properties to two bird feeders per 465-square-metre property, and one additional feeder per each additional 465 square metres of property.

Froude said bird seed in feeders is not only feeding birds, but also rodents.

His suggested bylaw amendment would also prohibit the spreading of seed, bread or other food on a property to feed flocks of birds.

He said he plans to bring a motion forward at the next regular city council meeting.

It’s a newly hatched idea, but it’s already got some residents tweeting.

“Trying to get rid of rats in an urban environment is truly absurd,” wrote Kerri Claire Neil on Twitter in response to Froude’s suggestion.

“Why do we think we can create sterile animal-free areas just cuz (sic) we paved over some of their land?” she wrote.

Froude said he welcomes residents’ input on the idea.

“It’s definitely created quite the flutter of conversation. It’s been quite interesting, and I’ve been hearing many ideas on both sides of the conversation – some support, some questioning — and I welcome that open conversation,” he told reporters.

Froude said the idea came straight from constituents who were concerned about rats in their neighbourhoods.

In 2017, pest control company Orkin Canada ranked St. John’s the busiest city for rats in Atlantic Canada. The findings were based on the number of commercial and residential rodent treatments carried out by the company.

I hear it very frequently from residents,” said Froude.

He said the city has already taken some initiatives to reduce rodents around households, such as implementing the automated garbage collection program and putting rules in place for developments and land clearing to do rodent control.

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

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