Retired couple fighting Bethlehem Township’s $1,000-a-day bird feeding fine

Whoa, slow down, kid. Where do you think you’re going with that bird feeder? Oh, you wanna watch the birds—maybe feed them a little seed? Well, in Bethlehem Township there’s rules for that sort of thing, and not following them will cost you $1,000. A day.

One retired couple is finding that out the hard way, with Bethlehem Township officials having slapped them with fees owed to an improperly kept birdfeeder. Residents of Bethlehem Township for some 25 years, the Ganssles are now being told the object of their low-key pastime is out of compliance with town code.

That code, of course, requires that birdfeeders be affixed with a catch basin at the bottom, as well as have some kind of squirrel habitation deterrent. Owners must also empty their basins at least once a day—a bit of upkeep Bill Ganssle says he does twice a day on occasion.

“I’m out there six, eight times a day chasing the squirrels,” he told The Morning Call.

The problem, though, isn’t birds or squirrels—it’s deer. In fact, Diane Ganssle says code enforcement officers paid her a visit in December, saying that it’s “all about the deer.” Indeed.

Following that visit, though, Ganssle removed the feeders in question and propped up a three-foot feeding tube, which apparently is the source for all the $1,000-a-day frustration.

The Township, for its part, seems to be coming over to the other side some, with Commissioners President Tom Nolan saying that the board will “get together to review this ordinance” and that they “do feel compassion for the animals.”

Good. Bethlehem, end this madness.