Backyard Chirper

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Couple Wins Bird Feeder Battle Against Town

416070Alfred and Annette Rockefeller love feeding birds. In fact, Alfred, a disabled 77-year-old, said it’s one of his joys in life.

So when their neighbors teamed up to stop the Rockefellers from feeding birds in their own backyard a few months ago, they were confused and upset.

“I feel like we’re getting picked on over here,” said Annette at the time, according to The Record. “To me it’s like, what’s going to be next? I’m going to be walking around my yard in shorts and be told I’m ugly and bringing down property values. You can carry this to ridiculous lengths.”

The neighbors were apparently upset that other animals like squirrels, groundhogs, deer, chipmunks and geese were eating from the feeders and ruining their gardens while passing through.

It got to the point where they were ticketed for feeding animals in their backyard and faced a fine between $250 and $500.

Although it is illegal to feed wild animals in that borough of New Jersey, it’s legal to feed birds from a caged bird feeder. The couple did have a caged bird feeder, but it was filled with peanuts and the environmental health specialist said birds absolutely do not eat peanuts. Any bird lover or casual bird feeder would tell you otherwise. Many birds absolutely love peanuts.

Thankfully, the judge dismissed the case earlier this week and the Rockefellers will be able to keep their feeder.

It’s unfortunate that the couple was put into the situation by their neighbors, and hopefully this case was a one-off thing and all you bird lovers out there will be free to feed your backyard birds undisturbed.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

1 Comment

  1. My new neighbors paid $850,000. for a fancy townhouse, and promptly called the city to complain I feed birds. (20 different kinds) City came out and wrote LONG complaint, including that I had to stop using a feeder that hadn’t been filled in 3 yrs. Which was amusing – its only hanging there because I like the color! (Yet another squirrel proof feeder that didn’t work.) Complained my plants (inside my fence!) looked like weeds and had to be cut down. They ARE weeds, planted for pollinators.
    And finally, after raising and releasing a fledgling pigeon, I began feeding other pigeons – so she would have a flock to join. I knew they would clean up every bit of spilled seed, leaving nothing for vermin. Then the neighbors complained about that. So I started a rumor. (After checking city regulations.) I let it be known if there was one more complaint – I would be setting up pigeon coops on my flat roof. And the complaints stopped! LOL

    Sorry those people had to go to court. Glad they had a good judge.

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