Battles Over Bird Feeding Can Land Neighbors In Court

Are your neighbors for the birds? Does their "pro wildlife" stance include leaving large amounts of food out for their fine feathered friends? If so, you may have more trouble than you think keeping wild animals away from your home and have to resort to a personal injury lawsuit in order to protect the value of your property.

It's happened to others.

A lot of people own birdfeeders or throw seed out to birds. Probably not surprisingly, not everyone is a fan of the results. While the news embraced the recent story of 8-year-old Gabi Mann, whose fondness for crows seems to be reciprocated by the crows with a fondness for her, her neighbors are less than thrilled about the relationship. In fact, two neighbors are suing Gabi's parents for a total of $200,000 in alleged damages and for the loss of the enjoyment and use of their own yards.

That's hardly the only case to fly into court. Birdfeeders are almost a fashion accessory for yards, and some people take their love of their avian friends too far for the neighbor's comfort. A case in New Jersey and another one in Massachusetts both cite birdfeeders as the cause of an infestation of too many birds in the neighborhood. It can even happen in urban environments. A New York eyeglass shop is suing an upstairs neighbor for attracting and feeding too many pigeons.

It's not about hating birds.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuits are quick to point out that they aren't necessarily against all bird feeding -- but the excessive amounts of food that their neighbors lay out attract so many birds that it makes it hard for them to enjoy their own property outdoors. The noise alone from all the birds can be prohibitive, but the smell and droppings are actually damaging to property.

Bird droppings are acidic. Many people already know that they can damage the paint on houses and cars. However, they can also eat away roofing materials and destroy air conditioning equipment. Birds can also damage vegetable and flower gardens and their nests can block chimneys and ventilation systems. Birds can also transmit a variety of diseases agents through their fecal dust.

In addition, the extra food attracts another unwanted pest: rats. Several of the lawsuits involving excessive bird feeding also cite the danger of rats being lured in by the free food. Rats are known disease carriers and are opportunistic enough to snatch any food that they can reach, including nuts or seeds that birds drop or knock on the ground.

As much as you may hate the idea, if you can't get a neighbor to respond to your entreaties to restrict their bird feeding activities to a reasonable level, you may have to take legal action to protect your investment in your property. Contact a professional personal injury lawyer to get started building your case.

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