It Westmount, the city/borough of Montreal in which I live, it is illegal to feed birds. I’ve heard from several people that it is, in fact, illegal to feed birds in most of Montreal. The argument is usually that birds will become dependent on humans as a food source, and that they won’t be able to find food in their natural habitat. I usually have trouble coming up with a counter argument to these points, but I’ve been thinking about it lately, and here’s my argument: look around you.
Do you see any “natural habitat” for birds anywhere? No. You don’t, because you’re sitting in or near a large human-nest that we call a “building,” most likely located in a city full of these buildings. We destroyed those bird’s natural habitat and built ourselves a habitat instead. How’s that for interfering with their natural feeding habits?
Second, what do you see outside your human-nest/building? Unless you live in a God-forsaken concrete hell, you probably see plants, planted by humans. Who planted them? Well I don’t know who exactly, but you’d better find them and arrest them! They’re feeding the birds! Even now, their evil act of legal defiance is being carried out as birds peck at the seeds of those plants, trying desperately to survive in this concrete and metal landscape we’ve built up around them.
Finally, take a look inside a Walmart, Home Depot, Airport, or any other large structure. On any given day, one of those structures may contain quite a few birds. Know why they’re there? They want to eat all the crap that we leave behind. And they apparently live quite well. Looks like you’d better pull out the handcuffs again, because Walwart’s feeding the birds too.
My point isn’t, “Everyone is feeding the birds and they just don’t know it.” My point is that we’ve already destroyed much of these animal’s natural habitat, which has a much bigger impact than people feeding them bird seed. The damage is already done: birds in the city are already dependent on humans for their survival, because our plants, trash, and bird seed are the only things they have left to eat in what use to be their home. We’ve destroyed their homes, and now it’s our responsibility to try to provide what we’ve taken from them.
And finally, it’s not like we’re going anywhere, are we? Chances are that if there were a huge catastrophe that prevented all humans from ever feeding birds again, there wouldn’t be any birds left to be fed, or humans to want to feed them. And I know that’s not the reason that making birds dependent on us is a bad thing, but as I posited in the last paragraph, they already are.
Note: This is an issue I feel strongly about. If you like my ideas, please share this post and/or leave me a comment. If you don’t like this post, or you disagree with me, please leave a comment telling me why. I don’t bite, I promise.