Residents and tourists in Kailua and Kauai, among other areas of the islands, have been complaining for years about the growing presence of flocks of wild fowl.

“The feral birds are everywhere, eating garbage and cat food and being fed by tourists,” The New York Times reported a few years back.

And here’s what Civil Beat contributor Kirsten Downey wrote in 2017: “Whole families of birds — roosters, chickens and chicks — are perching in and under the trees near the entrance to the store, nesting near the area where the shopping carts are stored, and strutting up and down the rows of the parking lot. They’re also crowing. A lot.”

A family of feral chickens crossing the Whole Foods parking lot in May 2017. A new bill ains to fine people who feed the birds Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat/2017

House Bill 524, which has a hearing Thursday before the House Committee on Health, Human Services and  Homelessness (and can be monitored via videoconferencing), calls for a $500 civil fine for the feeding or attempted feeding of any feral chicken.

If approved, the Hawaii Department of Health would be required to enforce the prohibition “regardless of whether the department determines there is a nuisance that is dangerous or injurious to health,” the bill explains.

HB 524 would also authorize county police departments to issue citations.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Scott Matayoshi, whose district includes portions of Kaneohe and Kailua.

Feral, by the way, is defined in the legislation as chickens “not in captivity” nor owned by any person or group.

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