London's Trafalgar Square is one of the more claiming landmarks in the capital.

With relaxing water fountains, steps and benches to sit on, and statues to admire, it makes a perfect place to people-watch.

But, while the Square may seem harmless, many unbeknownst tourists and locals alike could be facing a very hefty fine if they are caught doing this one act.

As, since 2003 it has been illegal to feed the pigeons of Trafalgar Square and if you are caught feeding the birds, you could be handed a £500 fine.

Don't get caught feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square or face £500 fine

While the London landmark might now seem like a wide open space with plenty of room for all, it was once taken over by the humble birds.

People would pay to feed pigeons with one council worker in charge of offering the feed-the-bird service.

But nowadays you won't see anyone in a box handing out feed or characters like the pigeon lady in Mary Poppins, you might not see many pigeons at all.

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone placed a ban on feeding pigeons in 2003 after it was deemed the number of pigeons in one place was becoming a health hazard. 

As the London by-law states:

(1) No person other than a person acting at the direction of the Mayor shall within the Square–

(a) feed any bird (which shall include dropping or casting feeding stuff for birds); or

(b) distribute any feeding stuff for birds.


The story of London's smallest police box in Trafalgar Square

While it is now illegal to feed pigeons in all of Trafalgar Square, for some years after the ban, some smart protestors noticed that the northern terrace of the square was not banned.

So for years after, pigeons were still being fed from the terrace until 2007 when the council changed the ruling to cover the entirety of the square, including the north terrace.

The rule was never to harm the birds but to make sure that the London landmark was clean and welcoming.