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Neighbors...

BrianB

Jogging around the block
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2/22/17
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772
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Phoenix, AZ
I have neighbors that have an unrealistic expectation that the neighborhood should be quiet 24 hours a day. The previous homeowners had to deal with almost daily harassment because their children liked to play outside. From what other neighbors have said, it was a deciding factor in them moving. Another neighbor has dealt with complaints about their dog barking when it was let outside. The individual told them they should stay with their dog for the 5 minutes it takes to go to the bathroom to make sure it doesn't bark. They also tried to get a neighboring bar shut down because of the noise. It's on the other side of a very tall block wall and I can't hear anything at all, even when their outdoor seating section was open. They tried, but they lost.

I have a flock of cockatiels outside. They can be loud, but in general, their noise fades into the background during the day and they only scream if a hawk flies overhead during the day. I also have a pair of macaws that are outside. In typical macaw fashion, they squawk in the morning and in the evening, as well as when a predator flies overhead. We have the macaws under our patio roof, almost right up against the house. The neighbors claim they can hear the noise in every room of their house. Between the cage and their house is part of our house, a row of thick bushes that is taller than the block wall that separates our properties. In my own home office, I can barely hear them and that's with two block walls between us.

Once again she has emailed me to complain. She made it sound like the bird was in distress and she was concerned for it, but the tone was that it was too loud. I replied and set the expectation that there are things I can mitigate and things I can't. Birds call at sunrise and sunset. It's ingrained behavior and they only do it for a few minutes at a time. It's not like they are screaming for hours on end. I couldn't put up with that either. A bird seeing a predator is not something I can control. I temporarily put up a tarp to block their line of sight to the back yard, but it made my kitchen very dark. It's been 100+ degrees the last few weeks and the tarp just traps more heat. The female macaw takes issue with me changing her food and water dishes, so I've been doing it as early as possible so that it happens when she's normally calling anyway. That way I can talk to her and try to redirect her attention. I feel I've made all reasonable attempts to mitigate the noise. Short of moving them inside, there isn't much else I can do.

Has anyone else had to deal with this? Any suggestions?
 

Hankmacaw

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Yes, numerous people have had to put up with that nonsense. No one here in the neighborhood complains to me any more, since I tell each and every one that as soon as they shut the dogs up from barking and barking at 2 am I'll consider their complaint. There are at least 10 dogs within 100 yards of my house on the front street and they are noisy day and night. There is a place behind me and across a big horse corral that of has at least eight dogs that they leave out all of the time and those dogs bark all night. No one says anything to them, because they also deal drugs and everyone is afraid of them. My bird is asleep by 7:30pm and doesn't get up until 7am - no one has a right to complain.
 

BrianB

Jogging around the block
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2/22/17
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772
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Well, I'm sure the neighbors are furious at me today. I had planned to take the male to the vet for a checkup. They are in a flight cage and it's not easy to get him so I can put him in the carrier. I managed to snag him with a net and the female let out this scream that I have never heard before. You would have thought I was committing murder in the back yard. I let him go and decided to cancel the appointment. She was really stressed out the rest of the day and spent a lot of time screaming at me. I'll have to figure out some other way to get him to the vet without stressing her and the entire block out.
 

aooratrix

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If I were you, I'd get a decibel meter and take regular, documented readings of the bird noise. I'd also get measurements of dogs barking, loud cars, blasting music, etc. I surmise that neighborhood sounds are louder than your birds NORMALLY are. Do that for a week or so. Then, go down to city hall with your data just to give them a heads-up. Make sure to mention why your predecessors moved, too. That way, if they do report, you'll have headed them off at the pass.
 

IRNluv

Strolling the yard
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Olivia
I keep chickens and ducks and had a neighbor who was knocking on my door every other day complaining about noise. His favorite line was "I didn't move in here to listen to this s**t!"
....We live in a rural area. If you don't want to hear agricultural sounds then go back to suburbia. None of my roos are early risers. Mine dont start up until 6:30 or so (most people have roos that start at 4am-5am). Also our houses are separated by 3 acres of woods.
I was civil for the first conversation, less so for the last one. He stopped complaining a few months ago. Only recently I learned he's been claimed by COVID-19. Not how I wanted to resolve our dispute.

I like the suggestion by @aooratrix . it seems the wisest course of action. If she does get extreme in her harassing efforts, look into getting a restraining or cease and desist order placed against her.
 

Shezbug

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Lol we had a neighbour getting very irate and yelling in anger at my dog for occasional barking which is a very new thing for her to do.
I went and saw him and let him know the reason she barked when he was outside in his yard and that the only reason she barked at them was because his visitors and his children made deliberate efforts to call my dog to the fence and either stir her up by barking at her and hitting the fence or they would throw stones at her.
He didn’t believe me till I pulled my phone out and offered to share the footage I had of people in his yard harassing my quiet relaxed dog by hanging over my fence calling her and bashing the fence. I then asked him if my dogs occasional barking fits at his presence was going to continue to be a problem for him and he said no and apologised for screaming at my dog. Lol

Footage of the exact problem they are complaining about to show when, how and why your pets are making a fuss can be helpful. It will show that they are generally quiet and are only noisy at times you would expect them to be.

I wish you luck in sorting this dispute out- it can be stressful when you can’t find some common ground with neighbours.
 

BrianB

Jogging around the block
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772
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I'll probably get a decibel meter and see how loud they are in comparison to other things. The bar that is next to them gets deliveries from a large truck. That's the only thing I hear from them and that's with a house and block wall in between. I wasn't sure what it was the first time I heard it so I went outside to look. Once I realized what it was I tuned it out. Now I rarely pay attention to it unless their drop gate falls and makes a loud bang. They only get one delivery a week at this point. It's just ambient neighborhood noise to me.

I think in some ways they are just difficult people. A neighbor across the street was sanding something in his garage workshop on a Saturday afternoon. The guy stormed across the street and asked how long he was going to be doing that because it was too much noise. That went over really well and he went back home after getting an earful.

I'll do what I can to help with the noise, but heaven help him if he comes over here to scream at me about it.
 

macawpower58

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If you have other neighbors, I'd also ask them to fill out and sign papers on their take of the noise from your birds.

Hopefully others living close that say it's not unreasonable noise, will help win your case if it ever gets that far.
 

BrianB

Jogging around the block
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2/22/17
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772
Location
Phoenix, AZ
The neighbors behind me have 3 birds. A cockatoo, a pionus, and one other that I can't remember. They enjoy hearing my birds and want mine to talk back and forth with theirs. I'm pretty sure at least one other home has a bird. Mine are just closer and obviously louder.
 

melissasparrots

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There is a decibel phone app you can get. I have no idea how accurate it is. But it might give you a general idea and allow you to compare to a barking dog or broken car muffler, the sound of someone slamming a car door etc.
 

finchly

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Are there noise ordinances? If not, all they can do is complain.

I would probably let them know that although they intimidated the previous resident, it’s not gonna work this time.

@Hankmacaw amazing about the dogs. I had 2 a long time ago, my neighbor said she liked keeping her windows open but they barked all night. So I started putting them in the garage. It’s called being a good neighbor.
Later she said I never heard your dogs since that day. She couldn’t believe that I was putting them up. (Also didn’t thank me . :laugh:)
I never mentioned that there were 8 barking dogs on our block!
 

Tielygirl

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oh man what a tough spot to be in especially with birds. all I can say is DOCUMENT everything! document all your interactions with them and they with you, save emails, and get some sort of video recording of a typical day- from AM to PM to prove when they are noisy and for how long. if it isnt for very long then its unreasonable for them to yell at you.

I have the opposite problem. my upstairs neighbors argue and yell all the time, including at 11pm during the week! he turned his music up so loud I couldnt hear my own tv the other weekend. monday when I was woken up at 11pm (again) I pounded on the wall and yelled for them to quit. and the guy stomped around like a man child for 10 mins before yelling again for the next hour.
 

BrianB

Jogging around the block
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772
Location
Phoenix, AZ
She sent me another email today while I was working at the bird store. I was so annoyed that I almost left to go home and have words with her. She's saying that the noise is "piercing" and it's affecting her peace of mind. I reminded her that our property lots are 100 ft wide, and from where she's sitting on the far side of her house, she has a block wall, trees, an external wall, as well as several internal walls in between her and the birds. She claims they are screaming for several hours at a time which simply isn't true. The neighbors behind us have birds and she would call me if they were to make sure everything was alright. She made it a point to tell me that she has single-pane windows. They had their house gutted and remodeled last year. The fact that they kept the single-pane windows is irrelevant, and not my problem.

I'm keeping copies of everything and I let her know that I've ordered a noise meter to make sure I'm not violating any city ordinances. With just an app on my phone, I've already determined that a motorcycle going down the street a block away was louder inside my house than the birds are. I let her know that I've spoken with the previous homeowner and it seems that they are very sensitive to noise of any kind. I won't tell her that I've had a flock of almost 50 cockatiels in the back yard for the last year. Cockatiels in large numbers can be very loud and they will scream for hours on end. She hasn't complained about them at all.
 

Nikomania

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Brian,
My situation with my neighbors is parallel to yours. I'm still battling the wife's anger and rage towards my macaws who don't squawk very often as it is. My neighbor suffers from a syndrome called misophonia, which is an extreme sensitivity to certain noises which elicit immediate feelings of rage. She'll slam her windows and doors shut even after a single call from one of my macaws.
I became so concerned over her anger towards my babies that I actually had both my macaws prescribed as emotional support animals for my son. For me it's insurance should she go completely postal log in a formal complaint.

My life has truly changed in a negative way on account of all this. Our beautiful outdoor aviary can't even be used by my macaws. I have to keep windows and doors closed, even if it's a hot day. I could go on and on, but all I will say is that I completely commiserate with your situation.

The hypocrisy? They have incessant yappy barking little dogs that bark all day and all evening, especially when they're gone. I think a leaf falling from a branch would cause them to bark. I have lots of recordings in case they'll be needed down the line.
 

Shezbug

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@Nikomania I did not realise your neighbour actually had misophonia- I do actually really feel for your neighbour as living with misophonia is a terrible thing to deal with and most do not deal with it well at all, especially without the regular use of noise cancelling ear plugs.
I still am much more sorry for the situation her misophinia puts you and your birds in though- if she was any sort of reasonable person she would tell you when she would be absent from her home giving you the freedom to enjoy your aviary and she also could wear earplugs for a certain amount of hours each week to help her cope and have a normal life and at the same time it would allow her neighbours (you) to have a normal life.
 

Nikomania

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It's been extremely challenging for quite awhile now. She hasn't helped us to enjoy our property by sharing what would be good times for us to use the aviary etc. I'm left guessing all the time. She wouldn't ever think of using something to help her cancel out the sounds as she believes we are the cause and that we should resolve everything on our end. No give or take whatsoever.
So, I will continue to dream about moving to the country. Sigh.
 

finchly

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She's saying that the noise is "piercing" and it's affecting her peace of mind. I reminded her that our property lots are 100 ft wide, and from where she's sitting on the far side of her house, she has a block wall, trees, an external wall, as well as several internal walls in between her and the birds.
You know Brian, I'm totally on your side about this. But there could be an angle or a way that walls come together that make the sound louder on her side. You might walk over there just to double check. Perhaps take your noise meter with you.

Reason I'm saying it, I live on water. One neighbor has parrots outdoors.....11 of them. Another neighbor complained. I was standing at the complainant's house one day when the birds became raucous. It was shockingly loud. Even louder than when I'm in the first neighbor's living room and they start up. It's the way sound bounces off the water.

Anyway, I don't mean to insult you at ALL and I do support you 100% but knowledge is power. You owe it to yourself to check it out.

The rest of that story though is we do not have a noise ordinance. So neighbor #2 called the neighborhood code enforcement, and eventually the police. They did show up but stated they cannot do anything. Hopefully this is the case for you as well and everything will settle down soon.

Things like this are so stressful.
 
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