VIDEO. From the City of Half Moon Bay City Council meeting on Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 at 7:00pm by Zoom.
CONTINUED STUDY SESSION – FEEDING OF WILDLIFE
Staff Recommendation: Receive a presentation from the Peninsula Humane Society regarding the feeding of wildlife, accept public comment, and consider whether additional or clarifying direction to staff is warranted.
On August 16, 2022, the City Council agreed to the placement of an item on a future agenda regarding the feeding of wildlife by visitors and community members, notably carnivorous birds such as ravens and crows.
The request was at the behest of a group of residents that believe the practice is deleterious to the local environment. They have advocated for a local ordinance to restrict the feeding of such birds in Half Moon Bay.
On September 21, 2022, the City Manager and Interim Assistant City Manager met with a group of residents to discuss their concerns and to receive an update on their research regarding protection of wildlife. Their research material was provided in the October 4 staff report.
Research confirms that raven and crows are members of the Corvidae family and more specifically the Corvus genus. These birds are indigenous to California and most of the United States. These birds are carnivorous and often compete with raptors and other birds of prey for food wherever they coexist.
City staff has communicated with two local bird experts. These experts indicate that feeding of Corvus is problematic for the following reasons:
1) Regular feeding can and often leads to concentration of Corvus where naturally they would not concentrate; and
2) Concentration of Corvus leads to unnatural increases in population; and
3) Increased population means greater competition for food and habitat with raptors and other birds of prey; and
4) Ultimately, this could result in loss of raptors and birds of prey in the coastal bluff area which could be detrimental to the health of the habitat of this and other areas on the Coastside.
Note 1: The experts also indicate that feral cats represent a threat to many local and migratory birds in Half Moon Bay and on the Coastside.
Note 2: The experts indicated that small backyard bird feeders are important and that any proposed regulations should not preclude them.
On October 4, 2022, the City Council conducted a workshop on the issue. Several members of the public spoke advocating for the preparation of an ordinance to restrict the feeding of wildlife in the City limits of Half Moon Bay.
Following the public input, the City Council deliberated on the subject. The City Council requested that staff seek input from other local experts.
The Peninsula Humane Society was contacted and agreed to send one of their wildlife specialists to speak to the community and City Council.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) have regulations in place that prohibit the feeding of wildlife in the State.
CDFW has limited resources and capacity to respond to and engage in enforcement in the City. The City of Half Moon Bay has the authority to regulate the feeding of wildlife by local ordinance and there are examples from other California communities to base such regulations upon. The primary issue for the City relates to logistics and successful enforcement of a local ordinance.
City of Half Moon Bay Asks ~ Please Don’t Feed Wild Birds!
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