Senior Citizens Going to Court Over ... Bird Feeder

Feeder provides solace to homebound senior, but NJ neighbors complain

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 24, 2013 11:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two New Jersey seniors may soon find themselves in court over ... unauthorized bird-feeding. Alfred and Annette Rockefeller, 77 and 66, have received a summons to appear in court tomorrow over a feeder in their garden that has prompted complaints from neighbors; officials say it violates local rules. Feeding wildlife is generally banned, though enclosed, hanging feeders are allowed, the Record reports. The one in question is made of wire in the shape of a wreath and contains peanuts (see it here). A local official says birds don't eat peanuts, Alfred notes; the president of the local Audubon Society disagrees.

The Rockefellers bought it after they were told they couldn't spread birdseed on the ground. Alfred is disabled and can rarely leave the house; the feeder is "one of few things I get pleasure out of," he says. But neighbors were upset when it attracted other animals like deer and squirrels, who "decimated" pricey plants, says the official. The Rockefellers received several warnings and rejected an offer of mediation with neighbors, the police chief says. They now face a fine of up to $500. But "to me it's like, what's going to be next?" says Annette. "I'm going to be walking around my yard in shorts and be told I'm ugly and bringing down property values."

A New Jersey couple is facing court over their bird feeder.
A New Jersey couple is facing court over their bird feeder.   (Shutterstock)
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