Feeding pigeons in Phoenix now comes with a fine up to $2,500

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Don't feed the pigeons. That's the new rule passed by Phoenix this week, trying to stop the city's persistent pigeon problem. Feeding the pigeons can now land you a fine from $150 to $2,500.

This ordinance is not about the guy feeding pigeons in the park. This is about the neighborhood birdfeeder who brings the flocks to your neck of the woods - and then you can't get rid of them. And if you don't have a pigeon problem when you live, consider yourself a lucky duck.

You won't catch pigeons hanging out at Bob Burnelle's house now. But for years, he wasn't really sure who really ruled the roost - him or the birds.

"It was a catastrophe with me," Burnelle said. "Every day I had to go out and wash the patio off because the pigeons were around."

The small flock made daily messes and wouldn't shut up at night. Burnelle tried everything to get rid of them but nothing worked. It got so bad, even his dog refused to deal with them.

"Instead of [my dog] being aggressive and scaring them away, he would lay there until they were full and then they would fly away," Burnelle said.

The worst part about pigeons is the poop. It's strong enough to eat through paint and make your neighborhood look like a mess.

That's where Joe - a pigeon professional - comes in, on pigeon patrol. He says getting rid of a flock can take weeks and cost hundreds of dollars. Because nesting pigeons really do think your home is their home.

"Once they start nesting, they become resident birds.. and resident birds don't move on their own."

Case in point is Colleen's home in Goodyear. She tells us it took years to get rid of the pigeons perched on her roof, night after night.

"Noisy [isn't] the word," she said.

Bob thinks his new sun-baked black roof rid the trick. It went up 10 days ago and he hasn't seen a pigeon since.

"They can't stand the heat," Bob said. "I guess their little feet get burned up there, but they don't come around here anymore."

The ordinance requires three complaints from three different households so it doesn't pit neighbor against neighbor, keeping it more man versus beast.