Residents of Mississippi with backyard bird feeders could run afoul of new state regulations that prohibit the “supplementary feeding” of wild animals.
The new rules appear to have been intended to limit the use of outdoor salt licks and other types of feeders designed for deer, but would apply to all animals, including birds.
“Feeding song birds is now a violation for most Mississippi residents,” reports a Mississippi newspaper.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported on the unintended consequences of the new rules.
The regulations passed by the state’s Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks removed an earlier exemption allowing feeders to be placed on or near residential homes. Under the new rules, all feeders would have to be located more than 100 yards from any property line or building.
Unless you’ve got a really, really, really big backyard, it’s tough to meet that requirement.
“So, when you put it all together, feeding song birds is now a violation for most Mississippi residents,” wrote Broom.
The state commission now says the regulations were not intended to ban backyard birdfeeders. They plan to review and correct the language at some point.
— Brian A. Broom (@BrianBroom) August 28, 2014
Until then, Mississippians should beware of overzealous park rangers and wildlife officers who could seize upon the opportunity to hand out citations for feeding mockingbirds—the state bird—in their backyards.
“How can they even try to regulate such a thing?,” asked Mary Stripling, vice president of the Jackson Audubon Society and a former commission employee. “I mean, even if they did it in error, what are they thinking?”