Bird Brains Target Bird Baths in New York City

Four New Yorkers received summonses for their bird baths last year, the New York Times reports, out of nearly 700 citations for “standing water” that the New York City Department of Health issued last year. But the Times reassures that's an average amount of citations and that it’s not just another nanny state intrusion:

In a city where Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has all but banned smoking and waged war on soda and trans fats, some New Yorkers may complain that the crackdown on birdbaths is yet another intrusion by the nanny state or a ruse to raise more money for municipal coffers.
Actually, a regulation against stagnant water has been on the books for more than a decade, but in the battle against West Nile virus, the health code was amended last year. It explicitly made landlords liable and applied the rule, apparently more broadly, to “standing water” rather than “stagnant water” and further empowered the department not only to prevent “the breeding or harborage” of mosquitoes, but also to prevent “conditions conducive” to their breeding or harborage.

The fine for the water standing there in your birdbath? Up to $2000. And about that West Nile, it's killed less people in the United States than the conventional flu. 

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  • ||

    "its killed less people in the United States than the conventional flu"

    That's not really a fair comparison. The flu kills a lot of people. If you want to drive the point home, compare it to ebola or something.

  • BarryD||

    Or acne.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The heartbreak of psoriasis.

  • Ska||

    Funny, I would think the biggest hazards for mosquito infestations comes from the ponds in city parks, not from people's birdbaths.

  • Tonio||

    The fish in the ponds would eat the mosquito eggs and larvae.

    Which leads to an interesting solution for the BB problem - one goldfish and it's no longer a BB but a fish environment with built-in larva-cleaning.

  • SKR||

    The fish only eat the ones they can get to. There is almost always plenty of weedy shoreline that offers refuge from predation. Also, keeping a goldfish in a tiny shallow birdbath with wild temperature fluctuations is cruel.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Goldfish are carp. Carp are bad, mmmkay?

  • Robert||

    What's created standing water in my neighborhood was the construction -- shortly after West Nile became a BFD -- of wheelchair ramps at street corners by building up the pavement to meet the sidewalk, thereby blocking drainage of gutters into sewers.

  • BarryD||

    FEWER people. It's killed FEWER people.

  • ||

    You didn't even mention the missing apostrophe.

  • BarryD||

    BTW I wonder what disease risks come from having a bunch of dirty birds flying around.

  • Tonio||

    Don't give the mayor any ideas. Next: fines for "harboring" birds.

  • BarryD||

    The Springtime for Hitler Law?

    Still, what's worse? Birds that bathe, or birds that don't?

  • SKR||

    Filthy, disgusting boyds.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Birds will bathe in sand, too. But NYC probably considers those "playlots" and has even more restrictions on them.

  • Zeb||

    West Nile mostly affects birds and horses. I think like 30 people a year die from it in the US and serious infections are in the hundreds. More people probably die form accidentally cutting their head off while shaving.

  • SKR||

    This is ridiculous. All you have to do is hit the birdbath with a hose once a week to flush out the water and w/e larvae might be in there.

  • BarryD||

    A film of diesel oil on the water's surface also works well to prevent mosquito breeding.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Diesel oil sounds great for the birds, too.

  • Invisible Finger||

    A bird splashing in it does the same thing. I'm sure there's some rancid birdbaths around, but if the water's clean then it isn't stagnant water. Changing it to "standing" water was a pure revenue play.

  • Lou Skannen||

    I'm assuming NYC is exempt as regards their many pavement and empty lot birdbaths?

  • Coach Outlet123||


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