Nfld. & Labrador

Bylaw limiting backyard bird feeders passed in St. John's

St. John's council hopes the change will help in the fight against pesky rodents.

Council hopes change will combat pesky rodent problem

Mayor Danny Breen voted in favour of a bylaw limiting backyard bird feeders. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

In an effort to tackle the problem of rodents, St. John's city council has agreed to limit the number of backyard bird feeders on each property as well as other wildlife-feeding restrictions.

Coun. Ian Froude initially raised the amendment to the residential property standards bylaw, and it was passed during Tuesday's council meeting. 

The amendment would limit residents to two feeders per regular residential lot. Lots larger than 465 square metres would be allowed one more for each 465 square metres beyond that.

Mayor Danny Breen, who originally opposed the idea given its scope of complexity, later changed his mind and voted in favour. 

"It's common in other municipalities to have restrictions on the amount of bird feeders on properties. It seemed like something that would be of assistance to help with the rat issue when there is a specific problem," Breen said.

By limiting bird seed on private property, the City of St. John's hopes to also limit the rat population. (Peter Pearson/flickr cc)

Automated garbage collection helped with rodent reduction, Breen said, as did improvements to St. John's harbour and the landfill. 

"A lot of times, you see them, they travel through property ... proper composting is another thing that can be an issue."

Since the idea of the bylaw amendment was raised, Breen said he has only received comments of support.

Enforcing the bylaw, however, could be a challenge.

Breen said the law has to be in place for "extreme situations," in which case neighbours or members of the public could alert the city, which would then send an enforcement officer, like any other residential bylaw.

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Ariana Kelland

Investigative reporter

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's. She is working as a member of CBC's Atlantic Investigative Unit. Email:


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