Sodus Point resident Don Antal feeds the neighborhood birds, squirrels and ducks with his 23 sheet pans of peanuts and bird food.
The 71-year-old lives in Sodus Point year-round and started his project in 2011.
“It so happened that I put a few shelled peanuts that were in a Wegman’s jar and then a few morsels turned into jars, and jars turned into bags. And it’s this is what it looks like 11 years later.”
Antal’s neighbor said people often come to Sodus Point as a summer retreat. A few say they’re unhappy with Antal attracting birds to the area.
“This is a neighborhood full of animal lovers. So that has nothing to do with it. I have video of I mean, you talk six, seven deer, there’s been fox, there’s been Coyote. So it’s not just a matter of squirrels, and birds, right? It’s going to attract animals of all kinds,” said Antal’s neighbor Anthony Butera.
The uproar in the neighborhood has led to the arrest of Antal and an issued appearance ticket to appear in the Sodus Town Court this Wednesday, June 22.
It’s deer- not birds- that could spell trouble for Antal
The issue has caught the attention of the Department of Environmental Conservation as there are now deer eating the nuts and bird seed around Antal’s property.
“Being that he’s feeding the deer that is a violation, they’ll wind up giving him a warning first and if he doesn’t heed their warning, then they will charge him. I do believe that’s a misdemeanor with the environmental conservation law,” said Sheriff Robert Milby.
“If he doesn’t stop what he’s doing, he’s gonna wind up getting himself in a little bit more trouble than just a couple of violation tickets.”
This isn’t the first time Antal has been arrested. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department arrested him three times between May 26 and June 10 for violating the village ordinance on bird feeders.
The ordinance, which started in 2019, states residents cannot have more than two bird feeders on the property and that they must be five feet above the ground.
More trays, more problems
Antal’s 23 sheet pans of bird food breaks that ordinance. Sheriff Milby said Antal was issued appearance tickets in the past, but nothing materialized due to COVID-19 and the courts not being in session.
“It’s excessive, and the food spilling over into the street is crazy. And there’s plenty of days where you got to sit and wait for the animals to kind of get out of the way. So you could pull into your own neighborhood. So it’s really disgusting,” said Butera.
Antal explains he has added more trays to the ground to provide food for the ground-feeder birds.
“That’s the way they like it, they’re comfortable with it, and that’s why I’ve been doing that.”
“It’s a great neighborhood. All the neighbors are great people. I honestly was blessed with the neighbors that I have here. It’s just, it’s becoming a little bit too much at this point and it’s tough to deal with,” said Butera.