Toronto Bylaw Updates to Chapter 349, Animals -
How It Affects Backyard Bird Feeding

Toronto bylaw 349 which references the feeding of wildlife has been updated and will come into effect on April 1, 2023. The bylaw regulations have been updated with the goal of discouraging people from feeding wildlife in parks and on private property. Feeding wildlife will be considered illegal and be subject to a fine.

Backyard bird feeding is specifically exempt from this update based on the following criteria. New subsection 349-10.1 states:

No person shall feed or attempt to feed wildlife, or permit the feeding of wildlife on their property, except:

A person feeding songbirds as follows:
a. the food intended for the songbirds is placed in a bird feeding device that is sufficiently above grade so as to not attract or be accessible to wildlife
b. the bird feeding device is located on private property, and the property owner or occupant has given permission for the installation and use of the bird feeding device
c. any food spilled from the bird feeding device is removed in a timely manner such that it does not attract other wildlife
d. the bird feeding device is kept in sanitary condition and in good working order.

To review the entire bylaw please refer to the following links:
Animal Bylaw - Feeding Wildlife and the specifics Feeding of Wildlife

What Should You Do If The Updated Bylaw Is A Concern

Whether you have a single feeder in your yard or a wildlife oasis, feeding the birds brings joy to every member of the family. Make sure it stays part of your daily life with these tips if bylaw 349 is a concern.

Use Seed Cylinders
Seed Cylinders are made from tightly-packed, high-quality bird food. Simply put, they are the cleanest, easiest and often the longest-lasting way to feed your birds. Unlike loose seed the food cannot be pushed to the ground by birds or knocked to the ground by squirrels Cylinders are available in many different blends some without shells. 

Protect Your Bird Food
Use baffles and cages to protect bird food from critters and to keep nuisance birds (like starlings and grackles) from eating all the food.

Add Trays/Seed Catchers Below Feeders
Adding a tray below your feeder will help reduce the amount of food that can end up on the ground. Our Wild Birds Unlimited seed tubes are designed to attach a tray to the bottom of the feeder, our Advanced Pole System has trays designed to be mounted below your feeders and we have hanging seed catchers that can be added to existing feeders. 

Use the Right Foods
The price of discount store seed blends may look good up front. But, buyer beware! Those bags can contain as much as 90% filler grains (like milo, wheat and oats), which most songbirds don’t eat. The filler seeds are typically thrown to the ground uneaten, resulting in a mess under your feeders and money wasted. 

Use No-Mess Blends
Traditional blends include seeds that are still in the shell, with the shells themselves accounting for up to 50% of the total weight of a bag of seed. Since birds don’t eat shells, the shells will accumulate below the feeder! Our WBU No-Mess Blends feature seeds that have had their shells removed so only the meat of the seed is left. The birds eat everything.

Feed a Little at a Time
Bird feeders are a beneficial daily supplement to natural diets and not the birds’ sole source of food. It’s fine to dole out a limited amount of food instead of keeping feeders full continuously. Even though it may only last a few hours, a scoop or two of food each day (ideally served at a time when you know you can watch) is more beneficial to the birds and enjoyable for you than filling feeders once a week. This feeding program will reduce the amount of food on the ground.

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