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My Neighbor does not like me feeding the birds. What should I do?

My Neighbor does not like me feeding the birds. What should I do?

I think everyone will agree when I say that feeding birds daily is probably one of the most satisfactory things that one can do. As much as it is personally fulfilling, one should not underestimate the impact of this pleasing activity on our environment. A habitual bird feeder does not only ensure the local species’ generational continuity but also plays a significant part in keeping the ecosystem balanced. Yes! Our small deeds do make big changes. Millions of citizens of America like me daily feed birds and have made it a longstanding tradition in their lives.  Around 55 million Americans over the age of 15 feed birds, spending more than $3 billion in one year on bird food, and $800 million a year on bird feeders, birdbaths, birdhouses, and other accessories.

If your neighbor does not like you feeding the birds, find out the reasons. If the reasons are valid, resolve them by changing the location, procedures involved in feeding or by other means. If there is no valid reason, try to make them understand.

Feeding the birds becomes even more crucial in the winters because birds need an extra source of nutrition for migration and protection against extreme temperatures. Personally, the most significant benefit of feeding birds is the pleasure and calmness their presence can bring us. But this good deed is not all fun and pleasing. As you become a habitual bird feeder, large flocks of birds come chirping at your doorstep regularly. Now, this might be a sight to embellish for you but for others, this might not be quite pleasing especially when one has to deal with the constant chirping, fluttering, and of course the excreta. Often it is reported that neighbors raise concerns regarding these things which they consider nothing less than a nuisance. Yet this cannot be a reason to discontinue such a godly practice.

A couple of years ago, I had to face the same resistance from not one but two of my adjacent neighbors who were quite furious as a flock of more than a hundred birds used to daily visit my humble abode in search of food. So, yes, I am no stranger to this experience. It was quite a head-scratcher for me to deal with my complaining neighbors and make them come to terms with my practice. The key is to understand the real reason for their complaints and churning out a rational solution that can solve everyone’s concerns amicably. Let me take you to step by step on how you can resolve this issue-

What to do when your neighbor does not like you feeding the birds?

As you start attracting a lot of birds, there are certain complications that arrive with them. Different species of birds have different characteristics and hence different behavior. Some might be highly active, loud, or produce a lot of excreta. 

It is also possible that they might arrive in large numbers adding to all the aforementioned traits by many times. If your neighbor is raising a serious concern, you must pay heed to them and listen carefully to what really is making them complain. Are they in general not fans of the sight of birds sitting around their houses or is it something particular that is upsetting them? One of the common reasons is the constant and sometimes loud noises that the birds produce which can be unpleasant to anyone’s ears. Leaving behind a large number of excreta is also one of the biggest headaches, even for bird lovers! Generally, when the neighbors flag their concerns for the first time, it is in a casual fashion. If you do not continue the conversation or do not listen to their concern they might come back with more seriousness. It is always good that you take them seriously from the start.

Below are some DOs and DON’Ts while you both are indulged into addressing the issue-

  • Listen like a friendly neighbor not as a grievance forum. By this I mean, be empathetic to their problem as much as you can. Indulge in a two-way conversation and make them feel listened.
  • In the bundle of their concern regarding your bird feeding activities, try to identify the major once. Once you identify the major problems they are facing. You can prioritize solving them first.
  • Make sure your activity of feeding them is not harming them in any way
  • Share your passion for feeding birds will help soften the edge between you two

Make sure you understand the gravity of their concerns even if their concern is somewhat irrational. Once the problem is addressed, try to find the solution amicably. Make sure to smoothly let them know that you just cannot do away with the practice of feeding the birds. Instead, you will be happy to take their consideration as to what they will like you to do to minimize their problems. If you believe they have a complicated concern, assure them that you will do everything in your capacity to help them. Ask them for time to reflect on their concern if needed.

What are the common reasons for upsetting your neighbor as you feed your birds?

There might be something that you might be doing injudiciously while feeding the birds. In that case, you need to answer several questions. Do you have bird feeders installed? Do you litter around the property while feeding the birds? Do you feed the birds at odd hours? A vigilant bird feeder will always employ best practices to feed birds. Rarely, it is seen that neighbors are irritated more by the bird feeder than the actual birds! According to them, birds are the real perpetrator. 

Let us look at some common reasons why the neighbors get so riled up due to birds flocking around their property.

  • As the bird feeding practice goes on for a long, the numbers of birds increase which brings in a ton of complications for the bird feeder and the surrounding inhabitants.
  • Many birds are quite active and keep on making random movements which include fluttering and sitting at your neighbor’s windowsill. Now, once in a while it can be a sight for the sore eyes but a large number of birds can bring discomfort to your neighbors and their family.
  • Usually, it is not just one species of bird that bird feeders attract. Many birds are quite loud and keep making noises all day. Now, this is something that makes neighbors furious especially those who prefer a calm and solitary ambiance.
  • Feeding birds bring in an inevitable and disgusting problem that is excretion. The larger the flock of birds larger they will leave behind the excreta which is going to be a lot problematic not only for the neighbors but even for the bird feeders to deal with.
  • As the flock of the bird’s increases, not intentionally always but often playfully birds get into a fight which can sometimes turn a little bit frivolous, and because of that many neighbors can feel a bit unsafe especially when they have kids around.
  • This is one of the most irrational reasons but yet a common one- some people just don’t like the birds in their vicinity, period!

Most of these above-listed reasons are quite common and serious as well. You have to make sure when you’re having a conversation with your neighbor, you must register these concerns empathetically and properly and work towards resolving them. It might happen so that most of the time that the problem that they are facing, you might feel as well. It is also important that you identify the problems which are major for them and prioritize to resolve them first and make sure you put in efforts best to your capacity.

What to do when your neighbor doesn’t like you feeding the birds?

Now, once you have successfully identified the concerns and issues that your neighbor is facing due to your bird feeding habits, you have to pick the major of those problems and try to resolve them first. You must address those issues one by one and with the help of a neighbor, you must come to an amicable solution and execute it.

For example, if your neighbor has a problem with the flock of birds fluttering in the morning and in the evening, you might want to reconsider putting the food out for the birds in the middle of the day when your neighbors are generally not at home and out for work. It is understood that this is not the natural time for birds to look for the food but after a while, they will get accommodated and will keep coming back at any time you put the food out.

If possible, you should put feeders away from the side of your neighbor’s boundary. It will facilitate the collection of birds to the other side which can be less problematic for your neighbor.

If you are birds are making too much noise you must identify some of them and try to scare them gently the psychology of conditioning kicks in and after some time has passed, they will tend to make less noise than before.

The above practice can be applied to the birds which are leaving behind the excreta. This is a problem that is very hard to deal with, and you must be constantly vigilant of it. You also must keep on cleaning the portions where the birds usually excrete. If push comes to shove you can also propose lending a hand to your neighbors to clean where the birds have excreted.

When you are getting ready to deal with issues that your neighbor has raised, you also must communicate your side of the story and share your passion for bird feeding and also make them aware of the benefits of bird feeding. This will make your neighbor go soft on his issues and they will try to understand your practice better. This might help them retract some of the issues and which will help you in turn in dealing with their concerns effectively.

What can your neighbor do about this issue?

While you are having a conversation with your neighbor regarding the issues that they have due to your bird feeding you need to make sure to maintain a friendly conversation. Once you have discussed all the issues and their possible solutions you must seek their help in some places to help them mitigate the issues and concerns that they have raised.

For example, if they think that their kids feel threatened in presence of large flocks of birds, you can request them to keep their kids inside. You can also ask them to scare the birds continuously for a brief period of time so that birds naturally do not go into their property. At last, you can ask them to be patient and supportive as this process is quite complicated and long and assure them that you will do everything in your capacity to resolve their issues.

Feeding Birds is one of the best things that you can do. This is also one of the best ways to give back to the environment which takes care of us by being bountiful. Bird feeding is highly advocated as an essential conservation activity, a simple way for people to connect with nature. It is a means for enhancing environmental awareness and psychological well-being. By any American law, local and federal, no one can pressurize you to stop feeding birds on your own premises but there can be some norms and guidelines set by the communities, citizen welfare association, and residential societies where you live which you must abide by. This is a rightful activity. 

Generally, neighbors raise small issues which can be easily dealt with because somewhere deep in the heart even they know what you are doing is a godly practice. By having a fruitful two-way conversation both your neighbor and you can come to the same page to resolve their issues. Demonstrate how it is one of the best ways to enjoy wildlife in the comfort of your home to watch birds feed themselves and their offspring. By showing the act of friendliness, who knows maybe you can turn them into fellow bird feeders themselves and celebrate National Bird-Feeding Month together!