We all like to do our bit to look after the wildlife in our local communities, from rescuing injured animals to making sure we provide inviting habitats for them to thrive.

Birds especially seem to get given a lot of love from us humans, whether that’s putting up bird boxes or hanging fat balls in trees.

Many of us like to feed birds in our gardens or in public spaces, but can you be fined for doing so and is it illegal? Let’s find out.

Is it illegal to feed birds in a residential area?

Gary Hemming of ABC Finance says the legality and potential fines related to feeding birds can vary based on specific local council regulations and the context in which the feeding occurs.

Generally, feeding birds in your own garden or in public spaces where it is not expressly forbidden is legal.

However, Gary adds there are situations and locations where feeding birds, especially pigeons, can lead to fines:

Public Spaces and Nuisance: "Some local councils have introduced Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) that can include regulations against feeding birds in certain areas, particularly city centers where feeding pigeons and other birds can attract large numbers of birds, leading to health and safety concerns, property damage, and nuisance."

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Littering Laws: "If the act of feeding birds results in litter or food waste being scattered in public areas, this could potentially be classified under littering. Local authorities can issue fines for littering if it's determined that the bird feeding contributes to waste and environmental issues."

Specific Regulations: "In some cases, specific parks, conservation areas, or historic sites may have their own rules and regulations regarding the feeding of wildlife, including birds. Violating these regulations can result in fines or other penalties, as the aim is often to protect native wildlife or maintain cleanliness and public health."

Gary commented: “If you're considering feeding birds in a public place, it's advisable to check with your local council for any specific regulations or guidance to avoid potential fines.

“It's also worth noting that responsible bird feeding—using appropriate food and doing so in a manner that doesn't create nuisance or harm wildlife—is encouraged by many wildlife organisations.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Has a bird ever landed on your hand to feast on some seeds?Has a bird ever landed on your hand to feast on some seeds? (Image: Getty)

Are you allowed to feed birds in your garden?

When it comes to specifically feeding birds in your garden, it is not illegal, according to garden-building expert Sam Jenkinson from Tiger.

He explained: “You generally cannot receive a fine for simply feeding birds in your own garden in the UK.

“There is no national law prohibiting it, and putting out feeders for your feathered friends is a common and enjoyable practice.”

However, Sam has shared this warning to keep in mind:

Responsible Practices: “While attracting feathered friends with bird feeders is a popular practice, some instances have seen residents facing restrictions.

“In rare cases, excessive bird gatherings linked to specific gardens have been deemed "anti-social behaviour" under the Community Protection Notice (CPN) scheme. This could result in a £100 fine and an order to stop feeding.

What side of the fence am I responsible for in the UK?

“A CPN is a formal warning issued by a local council or the police to address behaviour that is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life for others in the community. This can include, but is not limited to, noise, nuisance, and damage to property.”

But Sam says this shouldn’t discourage you from bird watching, as he continued to say: “It's simply a reminder to embrace responsible practices.

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“Choose appropriate food types and quantities to avoid attracting unintended guests like rodents.

“Regularly dispose of leftover food and waste to prevent littering and maintain feeders with proper hygiene to minimize health risks.

“By following these steps, you can ensure your bird feeding brings joy to both you and your feathered neighbours without causing any unintended consequences.”