Feeding birds could land you in jail

Feeding birds could land you in jail

, / 2008 0

Think back to your childhood days and it probably involves feeding the birds at the local lake. But though it may seem innocent to want to share the Wonder White bread goodness you loved as a child with the birds, it also increases their dependence on humans and can mess up their digestive cycle.

An elderly woman learnt this the hard way when a County court ruled this week that she would stay in jail after officers found the bread she left for the crows at her Sebring property.


Originally sent to jail in January for feeding wild bears despite warnings from wildlife officers, Mary Musselman, 81, faced court this week for her new bird-feeding offence.

In court, Musselman’s attorney alleged that the woman suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia based on a medical examination. The attorney requested alternate housing but on Tuesday, the County judge decided that Musselman would remain in Highlands County Jail without bond until they could conduct a complete medical examination of Musselman.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officer told Highlands Today that when they confronted her, “Mrs. Musselman stated she put the bread out to feed the crows and cracked corn for the squirrels. She also stated it was not against the law to feed birds and squirrels. I observed that all of the food items would be easily accessible to a feeding bear.”

FWC authorities say it’s illegal to feed bears because they lose their fear of humans and end up becoming more of a threat.