Scaring This Animal in MA Could Land You a $20 Fine or Jail Time
Massachusetts is notorious for having some head-scratching laws. For example, there is a limit to how many sandwiches one can eat funeral which you can read about by going here. Other laws include the fact that one cannot serve alcohol to hospital patients in Massachusetts. That one actually makes sense to me especially if the patient is on meds. What do you think? Another Massachusetts law that I actually find a bit funny is the fact that you legally cannot deface a milk carton. Check that one out by going here. Needless to say, there is a whole slew of "out there" laws.
Scaring Pigeons in Massachusetts is a No-No But to What Degree?
Another Massachusetts law that you may have or have not heard about is frightening birds, particularly pigeons. I definitely get it. One shouldn't be going around scaring or hurting animals. There's no debate that doing those things is wrong and shouldn't be tolerated but let's read on and dive a little deeper into this particular Massachusetts law.
What is the Actual Penalty for Scaring a Pigeon in the State of Massachusetts and What Does the Law Actually Entail?
Section 132 of the Massachusetts Legislature breaks down the actual pigeon scaring law:
Whoever wilfully kills pigeons upon, or frightens them from, beds which have been made for the purpose of taking them in nets, by any method, within one hundred rods of the same, except on land lawfully occupied by himself, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one month or by a fine of not more than twenty dollars, and shall also be liable for the actual damages to the owner or occupant of such beds.
In addition, Mass Audobon states the following:
Most birds are protected by federal laws under the "Migratory Bird Act of 1918," as well as by Massachusetts state laws. It is illegal to destroy, relocate, or possess wild birds, their nests, or their eggs. The only exceptions are non-native species—House Sparrows, European Starlings, and Rock Pigeons.
It seems unlikely that you would be penalized if you were to shoo away a pigeon. I remember back when I would visit the Berkshire Mall, there would be pigeons in groups around some of the building's entrances and I would see people shooing them away if they were blocking the entrance. You wouldn't get fined for something like that but killing them and/or messing/scaring them from their nests is where you could run into trouble. We just need to keep our deal with the pigeons, we don't bother them and they won't bother us.