Quantcast

First the bees, now the birds?

Evanston aldermen, who spent several months last year in heated debate over what to do about beekeepers in Evanston, seemed stung by that experience last week when they were asked to impose new regulations on birdfeeding.

Evanston aldermen, who spent several months last year in heated debate over what to do about beekeepers in Evanston, seemed stung by that experience last week when they were asked to impose new regulations on birdfeeding.

The aldermen on the Human Services Committee backed away from taking any legislative action when David Piotrowski of 1425 Ridge Ave. complained about the bird feeding practices of his neighbor, Mark Vanbork of 1431 Ridge Ave.

Mr. Piotrowski claimed that Mr. Vanbork's birdfeeders attract squirrels who drop peanut shells from the feeder in his yard which make his dogs sick when they eat the shells.

The city already has an ordinance regulating feeding of birds and other creatures (Section 8-4-7 of the city code). Alderman Steve Bernstein, 4th Ward, said it was intended to deal with a situation at Greenleaf Street and Ashland Avenue "where all foliage was stripped from the trees by squirrels and pigeon droppings were everywhere so that you couldn't walk on the entire corner."

The ordinance, among other things, limits property owners to one platform feeder per yard, specifies the feeder's design and requires that it be emptied or capped at night. Mr. Vanbork has a platform feeder and says he complies with the rules.

"We're trying not to pit neighbor against neighbor here," Ald. Bernstein said, "We're trying to accommodate everybody's needs."

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, suggested that perhaps the answer was to eliminate the peanuts from the feeder.

Alderman Elizabeth Tisdahl, 7th Ward, added, "Rather than going immediately to writing up a new ordinance, we'd appreciate it if, in a spirit of compromise" he'd try stopping the peanuts or using shelled peanuts.

The crisis seemed to be resolved when Assistant Corporate Counsel Elke Tober-Purze, who was in the audience at the meeting, announced that she's a certified mediator with the county court system, and offered to help the neighbors work out an agreement — an offer the neighbors took her up on.

Editors’ Picks