The bird feeder in Alfred and Annette Rockefeller's Bergen County, New Jersey back yard attracts five different species of birds. It has also drawn the attention of borough officials, who issued the couple a summons for feeding wildlife after receiving complaints from neighbours. Alfred Rockefeller, 77, who is disabled and homebound, said feeding the birds is one of his few joys since he became confined to his home two years ago.
The Rockefellers said they used to spread bird food on the ground, but borough officials visited their home and said that was not allowed. In response, they bought the hanging feeder. But the borough's environmental health specialist, Leo Egan, has now said that the wire wreath-style feeder filled with peanuts hanging beside the couple's deck is not appropriate for birds "He stated emphatically that birds do not eat peanuts," said Rockefeller.
Ducks, deer, geese, squirrels, chipmunks and groundhogs, among other animals, were being lured to the quiet cul-de-sac lined with well-manicured split-level homes, Egan said. He said the bird feeder was causing numerous complaints. "There were a lot of animals ... being attracted," Egan said. "The animals don't recognize the yard line between one house and another. There was spillover, and other neighbours had damage to their gardens from the animals."
The Rockefellers say police visited their home again last week, prompting Annette Rockefeller, 66, to go to police headquarters to inquire about the source of the complaints. She was told it would take a week to get the information. "I feel like we're getting picked on over here," Annette said. "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."
Now, the Rockefellers must appear in court to answer the summons issued by borough police which could result in a fine of $250 to $500.