ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - To the city of Albuquerque, Terry Anderson is known as a "problem feeder."
"That's one of my joys in life is watching the birds," the Albuquerque resident said.
However, Anderson didn't earn the moniker by just feeding "birds." It's her feeding of pigeons that has irked not only city officials, but her neighbors as well.
"In 2006 there were at least 90 pigeons over here," Anderson said. "Oh, they were so fascinating to watch."
The area around Anderson's home is covered not only in pigeon excrement but also piles of black-oil sunflower seeds. Her neighbors in the area east of Albuquerque Academy declined to go on camera but they have been complaining to the city about Anderson.
"As people are calling and telling us about these areas we just say, 'We're sorry,'" said Mark DiMenna of the city's Environmental Health Department. "And that answer has become very unsatisfactory to us and to the citizens that we're talking to."
City leaders are trying to pass a new ordinance to make it illegal to feed pigeons within city limits. DiMenna said pigeon droppings are linked to fungal and bacteria diseases that cause fevers, headaches and pneumonia although that is not the birds' only problem
"It's not just the disease they carry," he said. "We're really trying to emphasize that. It's about the problem they create for the entire neighborhood."
Other Albuquerque neighborhoods identified as problem areas include McKnight Avenue in the Northeast Heights, Cherokee Road NW near Valley High School, parts of Old Town and Ridgerunner Road NW near Cottonwood Mall.
If the new law is passed, feeding the birds the way Anderson feeds them would become illegal. Violators would be fined $50 for each violation while continuing violations would be subject to a fine of $50 a day.
"To me, that is a crime against nature," Anderson said. "And against my rights as a human being to enjoy the feathered friends that we have. It's a small group of people that hate pigeons -- calling them flying rats and stuff. That is just outrageous, and it makes me mad."
DiMenna said Anderson is "the type of problem feeder that I think we're really concerned about."
Anderson said that if feeding pigeons becomes illegal, she will "be very upset with the powers that be." She said she might consider suing, though city officials said similar laws have held up in other parts of the country. Pigeons are not protected by migratory bird laws.
"Pigeons are not native to North America," DiMenna said. "They were introduced here by European settlers, and they've become an invasive species ever since."
Residents with birdfeeders don't have anything to worry about unless pigeons feed off it. The Albuquerque City Council is expected to address the proposed ordinance next month.
Officials say the Bernalillo County Treasurer Office is closed Friday after a suspicious substance was found in the office.
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