The number of birds in one man’s backyard in North Central has gotten so large, the City of Regina is stepping in and asking him to get rid of the animals.
And the move is ruffling Gordon Loucks’ feathers.
Dozens of pigeons can be seen perched or flying around his home, which he calls the “Club Med” for birds. For years, Loucks said he’s been racing and training mainly doves and pigeons — or what he calls rock doves. He gives them food, water and shelter. Because of this, he said other feral birds have migrated to his property.
While he said he’s received permits from the city before, he doesn’t have one for this year. Loucks said he was denied, told he has too many birds which violates a bylaw that states “all yards, buildings, and structures shall be kept free of infestations of vermin, rodents, pigeons and insects.”
He said you are allowed to have 90 birds, but the city determined he was over that number, and so did he, admitting he was over too.
“They’re not my birds,” he insisted on the feral pigeons attracted to his house. “I can’t control these birds from coming into my yard.”
Loucks claimed some of his neighbours have complained. But he backs the birds up, and said those who call them flying rats are just uneducated. He believes there is no difference between a dove and a pigeon, saying they’re the same bird, just a different colour.
He wanted to turn a hobby into a full time business, claiming the city had actually previously paid him thousands of dollars to release doves at various municipal functions over the years.
Now, the city giving him 30 days to remove the birds. It’s a ruling he recently went to city hall to appeal, but the decision was ultimately upheld.
“Everybody’s dream is to be financially independent. Well, they screwed my dream,” he said.
He believes the bylaw needs an update to reflect someone in his unique circumstance.
“There’s nothing in the bylaw for people who are using it for livelihood; for financial reasons.”
Loucks said he has until April 1 to remove all birds, both his own and the feral ones. He’ll comply, but only to a certain point he suggests.
“I will remove the wild ones, get in accordance with the compliance with the city for the number of birds,” he said, adding at that point the city can then come back and count the remaining birds.