ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Problems are coming home to roost for one Albuquerque resident, whose bird feeding habits have recently ruffled some feathers in the area after hundreds of pigeons began calling her roof home. News 13 went out to the area to speak with the homeowner and neighbors about the pigeon problem, and to find out what the city might do.

“Those pigeons, I have been watching them…since my kids were here and this was the bus stop and I think I’ve counted 200 pigeons every morning,” says Tracy Clark, neighbor.

In a neighborhood tucked behind UNM Hospital and the North Golf Course, some rather flighty residents are roosting on one person’s home. Neighbors say they have been for decades. “They come and go, you know. Pigeons go out and they feed and stuff and so they’re there in the morning because it’s cold and then they leave for the day and then they’re usually there again in the night,” says Kitty Foos, neighbor.

“[For] twenty years, I’ve been watching the pigeons, I don’t find it to be a problem at all. I kind of enjoy them,” Clark says.

But, that feeling evidently isn’t shared by all. The pigeons were enough of an aggravation that someone filed a 3-1-1 complaint with the city to take care of it. The owner of the home declined an interview, but they did say they’ve been feeding native birds of the area for decades, and they’d never been told it was a problem.

Neighbors KRQE spoke with didn’t seem to think it was, either. “I’ve never seen them as a problem. They’re always just the pigeons that are on the power lines over there. And so, it doesn’t bother me living over here,” Foos says.

Neighbors were even surprised to learn that someone filed a complaint about the situation. “Mostly because this neighborhood tends to be more renters, and a lot of people real transitional through the neighborhood,” Clark says, “I know she feeds the pigeons. But again, I don’t think it’s a problem. I think it’s something she enjoys; they’ve lived there for probably 30 years, and she just really loves the birds.”

The city does have an ordinance against feeding pigeons and keeping them on your property out of human health and property concerns. “[The ordinance] was for human health reasons, with diseases and bacteria and potential issues with the buildup of pigeon waste and droppings – also, the health of the environment. So, where you have significant amounts of pigeon waste building up, you get rainfall events and you can see that runoff going into the river,” says Nick Pederson, environmental health manager of the Environmental Health Department Urban Biology Division for the city of Albuquerque. “Also, property damage and enjoyment of property. So, you can see significant issues with a lot of buildup of bird droppings whether it’s on vehicles, structures, homes; things like that.”

“The expectation [is] if you’re putting seed outside for birds, you’re going to get all types of birds. Pigeons are going to show up sometimes. Those aren’t situations that the ordinance necessarily applies for…It’s specifically looking at those situations where pigeon feeding is creating a nuisance situation and attracting large numbers of pigeons,” Pederson says.

“A lot of people aren’t aware that this ordinance is here, but I want to reiterate: the ordinance isn’t there to stop people from feeding all birds. It’s going to be situational. People can still feed the songbirds. We’re just looking that people take steps to try and prevent some pigeon feeding to prevent those numbers from growing and becoming a nuisance,” Pederson says.

Pederson says this is the first time they’ve received a complaint about this property, but based on the 3-1-1 picture, this specific case does seem to fall into the ‘nuisance’ category.

Pederson says they try outreach measures to get the pigeon feeding to stop before it rises to the level of getting a fine. However, if it doesn’t stop people could be looking at a fine of $50 dollars a day.