(WSVN) - Feathers are flying in one Broward County community in a battle over birds, and it’s pitting neighbor versus neighbor. 7’s Karen Hensel investigates.
This is the welcoming committee in the Bristol Isle community in Miramar.
A bunch of birds blocking the road.
Muscovy ducks, Egyptian geese, plus pigeons, egrets, even a wood stork.
The sheer number of birds here has turned neighbor against neighbor.
Sean Chamberlain (in police body camera video): “All I got is the ducks. They keep trying to take that from me.”
On one side is Sean Chamberlain, who lives here and cares for his elderly father.
He feeds the birds even though there are signs in the neighborhood reading: “Please don’t feed wildlife.”
On the other side, some neighbors who say the feeding has brought more birds and with them, feces and disease.
They say the animals are even ruining their yards.
Neighbor (in police body camera video): “That is because the ducks walk through that, they don’t walk through that other side.”
This is body camera video from Miramar Police and code compliance officers who have been out here dozens of times.
The city is caught in the middle of this duck dispute, one that’s been ongoing for nearly five years.
Officer (in body camera video): “They’re all over on the side here.”
Sean Chamberlain (in body camera video): “I guess you know we’re a bird sanctuary.”
Miramar is a bird sanctuary per city code, making it “unlawful to hunt, wound, molest, injure, or kill any bird,” even Muscovy ducks, and they cannot be trapped “except for the preservation of the health and welfare of the public.”
Neighbors tell police this has become a health hazard.
Neighbor (in body camera video): “My pool is horrible. I clean feathers every day.”
Chamberlain says he’s not going to stop feeding the ducks.
He and his neighbors have filed complaints against each other.
Code Enforcement officer (in body camera video): “This has been going on for years.”
Sean Chamberlain (in body camera video): “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. This is crazy.”
Code Enforcement officer (in body camera video): “Regardless of you have admitting feeding the birds or not, it is causing a problem on the properties.”
Sean Chamberlain (in body camera video): “I don’t agree that I’ve made that problem.”
In police reports obtained by 7News, Chamberlain alleged a “neighbor’s white Labrador came into his backyard and began to attack ducks” and that someone sprayed the ducks “with an unknown substance.”
Another neighbor, the homeowner’s association president, complained about Chamberlain “banging on his front door, threatening him.”
We talked to neighbors who had plenty to say, including that they wouldn’t mind just a few ducks around, but none would talk on camera.
Sean Chamberlain, feeds the birds: “I’m a 280-pound guy who is 6’2″. Hey, you know, if I’m intimidating, I’m sorry.”
But Chamberlain did agree to speak to us.
Karen Hensel: “So, what do you say to the neighbors when there are hundreds of ducks who say, ‘OK, it’s too much, enough.'”
Sean Chamberlain: “I say drive around the community and don’t blame me, and they’re trying to blame me for this situation.”
Miramar’s code compliance has issued Chamberlain and his father six violations, including for feeding the ducks.
They are appealing.
The city declined an interview request citing the pending court case.
Meanwhile, the association is not waiting to take action of their own.
We’re told the board has hired a company to remove the birds.
Sean Chamberlain: “They can’t come and trespass on my property, and, you know, hopefully I am going to take some photos.”
Sean Chamberlain says he will continue to fight this bird battle, and if the animals are trapped, he will file even more complaints with the city asking them to fine the company for every bird taken or killed. We will let you know how this fowl fight ends.
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