Owner Statement, concerning 266 Radford Hollow Rd.
I have a difficult situation that I cannot see a way forward in, and I ask for your help. This summer I was able to keep my straw bale house rather than sell, due to the offer of tenancy plus maintenance help of my friend Joseph Montgomery. I co-built the house; my hands were on every last bit of its construction, and it is imbued with significant love and healing. Joseph’s arrival gave me a chance to continue its use as a place for healing, retreat, and creativity, in tandem with my fledgling business in town (dragonsroost.us).
We have had an ongoing issue for at least five years with the neighboring tenants’ (250 Radford Hollow Rd.) roaming and loud flocks of birds, as well as nudism (Daniel Del Vecchio and Dandelion). They have been unwilling to change the situation upon being asked, even with reasons given. Instead they have increased and replaced many flocks. I contacted the house owners, Josh Bills and Danielle Capillo, and was met with similar unwillingness to act. At that point, I tried every branch of law and judicial enforcement there is, to no avail.
Joseph is a writer by profession, and rented my house to work on his novel, 10 years in development. This week he got to the point where the incessant noise made it impossible to write or even stay out there. The noises are alarm signals made by aggressive territorial birds, and cause a resulting internal sensation of alarm in addition to the noise itself.
If I am unable to use the house for tenancy or my work, I lose half my income as well as 15 years of work dedicated to that place. I have chosen to learn how to build and repair things myself, as well as to live at the poverty line, so that I can continue my work in Berea. I don’t have extra resources at my disposal. I appeal to folks who know Daniel, Dandelion, Josh Bills, or Danielle Capillo, to intervene on our behalf.
You may read Joseph’s statement as well as data and audio recordings he has gathered. He has counted up to 378 rooster crows in a day, every hour of daylight, and at times spread throughout the night as well. The guinea fowl have chased and intimidated people on my property, making it impossible for my young grandkids to play outside alone. The list goes on.
Property Owner, Joanna Juzwik
Joseph’s written summary of the fowl noise issues including data
I am writing concerning the trespassing of noise from the neighbors at 250 Radford Hollow Rd.
I have been living at 266 Radford Hollow rd since June and wintered at this same residence in 2016. The house is located in a quiet area alongside Lake Owsley and the residence shows promise to be a powerful place to retreat. I am currently pursuing my career as a writer while I wait for Covid 19 restrictions to lift on my work as a wilderness educator for kids in the outdoors. Since June, my career has depended on my progress of a novel currently underway. This requires me to work from home, as many people are during at this time. With this in mind, I would like to explain the situation at my residence.
When I arrived at 266 Radford Hollow rd, I saw only one rooster and a small flock of chickens. The location showed much promise and I believed it would be the perfect location to write my book. Soon after my arrival, I was surprised to find the neighbors had acquired a new flock of Guinea fowl. This was a surprise, because, there had already been a long history of tension between the neighbors at 250 Radford hollow and former residents of my home regarding Guinea fowl. At a young age, Guinea fowl are fairly quiet, however, as they grow up they become quite vocal. In addition to the Guinea fowl, the small flock of chickens doubled in size during my residency, including as many as 3 roosters, perhaps more. Between these flocks, the noise can last all throughout the daylight hours. To highlight this point I would like to include some data I gathered.
(This data was gathered between Nov 30 – Dec 6th, 2020.)
The Roosters begin crowing shortly before sunrise each day, beginning as early as 6:27am. By 7am they are fully active, with records of them crowing 50 – 70 times, with one particular morning counting 90 crows in the hour of 7am alone.
For the duration of the morning, between 8am and 11am, they will continue with an average of 45 crows per hour… on the morning of Dec 5th I recorded a total of 200 crows that morning. In addition, due to their being multiple roosters, they are likely to respond to each other, resulting in an average of 25-40 crows before stopping, and at 7am on dec 5th, I recorded 57 consecutive crows.
In the afternoon the number of crows drop slightly, or, I may leave the house to run errands. But on Nov 28th I recorded 94 crows at 1pm, 56 at 2pm, and 38 at 3pm… By this time, please be aware, that the Guinea fowl are likely to show up for feeding. Although it is more difficult to keep records of their noise, I have substantial audio recordings of their calls… but on a few occasions I attempted to count their repetitions, and on Dec 2, counted as many as 189 repetitions before they paused.
These patterns will last throughout the day, slowing down sometime around dusk. Because my records were made in the winter, daylight hours are shorter, which means in summer the total numbers would be higher. However, despite the shorter days, I have recorded 200 – 284 crows within a 5 hour period, with as many as 378 crows in an 8 hour period.
Although they are most active during the day, I have also recorded 7 – 17 crows long before dawn, at 6:42am, 6:27am, 4:45am, 4:35am, and 2:27am. Also, I have heard them after dusk, at 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm.
And although I have attempted to recount only my written data, I have experienced much more from these birds which I simply did not have the energy to record.
The repetitious and alarming tone of these birds is only made worse by the simple fact that the neighbors are only 200 feet apart from me. They are keeping at least 3 coops to house all of their flocks, one of these coops being less than 50ft from my back porch. The Guinea fowl are often kept in the closest coop, which results in them sounding off whenever I cross my back yard or use the back door. It also means that they spend a large portion of their day very close to my residence. The other coops are about 120 – 200 feet away, within eyesight. Including my house, there are three additional households within 500 feet who are exposed to the same issue. The Guinea fowl are allowed to roam freely during the day and the chickens are let out in the late afternoon. The sounds they make can be heard in every room of my house and can be heard at least 500 feet away. I only have two choices if I want to escape the sound of these birds- I can wear earplugs inside my own home, or, leave my home. And on the date of dec 26, after returning from Christmas visiting with family, I did just that. At the time of this letter, dec 31st, I am staying with a friend and still have not been back.
We have communicated with the tenants at 250 Radford Hollow rd and the landlord of that property on multiple occasions. Former residents have also experienced trouble with the flocks owned by these neighbors. I am currently under stress over living next door to them… and if I am forced to leave, then what will the next residents do? They, too, will have to listen to these birds. This only highlights the fact that not only is my livelihood as a writer affected by the neighbors, but so is the property owner, Joanna Juzwik, and her livelihood as a landlady. The neighbors, however, are not farmers, and do not depend on livestock as a livelihood. These birds are merely pets. And it makes me sick to think that I might have to uproot my life to find a new home because of this issue. I love my home. And finding a new location would take weeks of my time and energy which I could use pursuing my career.
All I’m asking is to be treated like a neighbor, which means respecting my property boundaries and keeping their lives to themselves. I have always considered the implications of the noise I make and the time of day I choose to make it. I can choose how to conduct myself… but I cannot choose how my neighbors act, which is why I am reaching out for help. If the neighbors step-up and make a peaceful choice, perhaps we can all keep our homes and our livelihoods intact.
Joseph Montgomery, Resident of 266 Radford Hollow Rd.