A quarrel between two neighbors was reported this morning on National Public Radio. One man is demanding that the Mannington, West Virginia, city council take action against his next-door-neighbor for attracting pigeons with bird seed, bread, and French fries, because the birds drift into his yard, and make a mess. While city council members ponder their power over birds, the bird-feeding neighbor has volunteered—for now—to cease feeding birds.
Bird lover that I am, I can also appreciate the dilemma of uninvited wildlife. Mark planted two pecan trees on our old property, and after years of loving, tender care, the trees were bearing magnificent, paper shell pecans. One year, while the pecan husks were still smooth and green, a squirrel duo began visiting the pecan trees daily. I watched in dismay as the bushy-tailed marauders methodically took one bite each of immature pecans, and disdainfully threw them to the ground. More squirrels arrived, and soon the ground was littered with pecan rejects.
Squirrels had never found our yard attractive (too many dogs, cats, and children) and I wondered why the little guys had suddenly migrated to our property. The mystery was solved when I overheard a neighbor complaining about someone in our neighborhood who had volunteered to make her yard a squirrel habitat by accepting trapped squirrels from people seeking to rid themselves of the critters. The squirrel-loving neighbor reasoned that the little rodents would stay put at her house.
For the remainder of the pecan season, I waged a private war against the pack of pestiferous squirrels. Yelling and brandishing a broom in their direction only momentarily fazed them, but at least I felt as if I was doing something to protect the pecan crop. Reasoning that the squirrels were doing what came natural to them also helped me accept their pecan-wasting behavior. Come Thanksgiving, I had enough pecans (barely) for baking.
I’m not sure what the answer is to this situation, but I hope the two neighbors can soon come to an agreement about hungry pigeons.