The city of Evanston, a suburb just outside Chicago, is sometimes known for its fractious civic engagement. To wit, this is the place that has on the books (and threatens to enforce) a law forbidding more than three unrelated people from living together, a measure derided by off-campus Northwestern University students as the “brothel law.” It is also home to a sizable community of birders, including the very active Evanston North Shore Bird Club.

So feathers are flying (figuratively, of course) as the Evanston City Council considers a bill to regulate bird feeders. As written, the proposed law would require feeders to be licensed (for a fee, naturally) and inspected. (Feeders which fail to deter squirrels will incur fines; left unspecified is how the law would treat those which attract undocumented, er, nonnative birds, like the European Starling above that visited Birdchick’s feeder.)

Is this proposal truly for the birds? Or just plain bird-brained? Find out the scoop on this burgeoning controversy here!

Written by Meredith Mann
The lowly Red-winged Blackbirds in suburban New York triggered Meredith Mann's interest in birds. Five years later, she's explored some of the the USA's coolest hotspots, from Plum Island in Massachusetts to the Magic Hedge in Chicago to the deserts of Fallon, Nevada. She recently migrated from the Windy City (where she proudly served as a Chicago Bird Collision Monitor, rescuing migrants from skyscrapers and sidewalks) to Philadelphia, where she plans to find new editing and writing gigs; keep up her cool-finds chronicle, Blog5B; and discover which cheesesteak really is the best. And she will accept any and all invitations to bird Cape May, NJ.