RAMSEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Bergen County, N.J., couple has been ordered to appear in court – for the offense of feeding the birds in their own backyard.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, the Borough of Ramsey told Annette and Alfred Rockefeller they are not just feeding the birds – they are illegally feeding wildlife.
Alfred Rockefeller, 77, comes from the famous bloodline.
“Well, the original John D. had a brother. I’m descended from the brother,” he said. “He didn’t have the money, just the name.”
And now, his name is on a summons from the borough.
The Rockefellers live on a dead end street near a wooded area, where neighbors have complained that the Rockefellers extensive feeding has attracted more than just birds. Deer, groundhogs, squirrels and ducks also have been showing up, neighbors said.
“There was a duck lying here on the ground that I wanted her to see, that had run into the window because so many had taken off over there,” one man said.
In addition to seed in the feeders, the couple used to scatter peanuts on the ground. A year and a half ago, a town official showed them an ordinance saying birds must be fed from hanging, enclosed feeders. So they got four of these that hold peanuts.
Neighbors complained, and the couple got the ticket.
“I am in accordance with the ordinance that says you can have hanging bird feeders,” said Annette Rockefeller. “It doesn’t say what kind.”
Alfred Rockefeller, who is disabled, said feeding birds is one of his joys.
“I like to sit in my kitchen and watch the birds eat because I can’t do very much else right now,” Rockefeller told 1010 WINS. “I can sit here and watch television or I can watch birds. I prefer watching birds.”
He said the fact that his home is near a wooded area is the reason wildlife is coming around.
“There are more and more animals congregating there because everything else is being built up and they have no other place to go,” Rockefeller said. “My neighbors really don’t realize what the true situation is.”
Ramsey Borough Administrator Bruce Vozeh, who said both sides will be in court Tuesday evening, suspected the couple may be putting out more peanuts than a few feeders can handle.
“I would think that those enclosed feeders don’t seem like they would drop a lot, the amount of feed that would keep these animals from coming back,” Vozeh said.
Should the couple lose in court, the Rockefellers would have to come up with a fine of between $250 and $500.
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