LEWISTON — The elderly residents of a subsidized apartment building have been told to stop feeding pigeons.

The memo, sent by the building’s management company to about 100 residents this week, implies the city will kill the birds if the feeding continues. One resident said building managers also threatened him with eviction when he complained about the sudden ban.

“I am so bothered by this,” said David Sites, 68. “Here I’ve lived in the city 50 years and I’ve been feeding the birds all my life. I’m not married. I have no children. This is one of the little things I enjoy in life, and they want to take that away from me, too. I don’t think it’s right.”

The memo was sent by the Barkan Management Co. to residents of the Oak Park Apartments, a subsidized apartment building located at 10 Oak St. It says, in bold, uppercase letters and underlined, “All residents must stop feeding the pigeons.

“The city has noted that they have the authority to exterminate the birds but this is not an avenue they want to resort to,” the memo says. “It would be unfortunate for the city to have to take these measures. Please do not just go to another location nearby and feed them. If you would like to continue feeding the birds the City of Lewiston has stated that you MUST go to Kennedy Park to do so.”

Messages left for building management were not returned Friday.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said a city maintenance employee recently asked the building manager to ask residents not to feed the pigeons around the parking garage located across the street. But Barrett said feeding pigeons does not violate any city ordinance and bird feeding is not limited to Kennedy Park.

“While we can control such activity in/around our buildings in an effort to minimize issues, we don’t prohibit feeding pigeons elsewhere, although Code Enforcement can become involved if things get out of hand,” Barrett said in an email. “For example, if pigeons are roosting in large numbers in vacant upper floors of buildings, we could likely order the owner to take steps to address the problem, much as we can require dog owners to clean up their properties if they become unsanitary.”

Barrett said the city employee approached building management because residents were feeding pigeons close to or inside the parking garage.

“We have had issues with pigeons roosting and nesting in the parking garage with the resultant droppings creating a nuisance on vehicles and within the building,” he said. “In addition to the mess and periodic complaints from vehicle owners, there is a potential but small health risk associated with such droppings.”

Sites, who has been living in the building for eight years, said residents have been feeding the birds there for more than a decade and have never had a problem.

He acknowledged that residents use part of the garage to feed the birds in the winter because snowbanks get in the way of their regular feeding spots.

“So we use one little piece of the garage,” he said. “The birds fly in when they see us. They fly back out again when they’re done, the same way they came in. So we don’t know what the problem is.”

He said he has not seen the pigeons defecate on cars, but he has seen humans defecate on the upper level of the garage.

When Sites protested to building management about the sudden feeding ban, he said, he was told he was making trouble and could be kicked out of his subsidized apartment if he kept feeding the birds.

The situation has left him both angry and scared.

“I haven’t lived this long to have people threaten me,” Sites said. “I may have to find another place, but I live on Social Security and I don’t get a lot of money.”

Sites brought his complaint to Lewiston Mayor Shane Bouchard this week.

Bouchard said he’s spoken with city staff and hopes a resolution can be found.

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