Dear Sun Spots: I have several bird feeders in my yard, and over the course of the summer have had more and more pigeons flocking to them. They are scaring away the small birds and perching themselves on my neighbors’ roofs, which I don’t feel is fair to my neighbors.

Do you or your readers have any suggestions for keeping the pigeons away?

— No Name, No Town

Pigeons, crows and blue jays are the bane of many a bird lover, including Sun Spots. They are messy, eat voraciously and chase all the songbirds away. Not to mention the awful cawing noise crows and jays make. There really is only one nonviolent way to get rid of them, or at least reduce their numbers at your feeders. 

You need to eliminate their source of food. Exchange your platform and large-perch feeders for those with a steel mesh cage around them. The mesh, available in varying sizes, allows the small birds, such as chickadees and finches, to enter but keeps out the bigger, greedy birds (and are squirrel proof as well, for which the cages are often advertised). They can still pick up some stray crumbs, but without the quantity will hopefully head for more fertile feeders.

Sun Spots has noticed that there seems to be an inordinate number of pigeons and crows in Lewiston-Auburn. The crows often perch in the trees in front of the library across from the Sun Journal and make a tremendous racket. Perhaps winter, which the Almanac is predicting to be a cold one, will reduce their numbers, or at least send them south quickly. Pigeons, unfortunately, do not migrate.

Dear Sun Spots: In response to increased needs, Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice is offering a class this fall for compassionate people to be trained as hospice volunteers.

Hospice volunteers help support terminally ill patients and their families at home, in long-term care facilities and at the AHCH Hospice House in Auburn.A 27-hour hospice course will be held in Lewiston beginning Sept. 29.

Volunteers are valued members of the hospice team and are matched with patients in or near their communities. We ask for a time commitment of two to four hours each week. Classes will be held in Lewiston at our Strawberry Avenue location. For more information, please contact volunteer services at 777-7740 or 1-800-482-7412.

— Nancy Greene, volunteer coordinator, AHCH

Dear Sun Spots: I recently purchased a Dirt Devil hand-held vacuum cleaner. I need to purchase a new filter and drive belt. Where can I purchase these two items? Who stocks parts or accessories for the Dirt Devil?

I am amazed to read about Sun Spots and how important it is for many people in their daily reading. I am pleased to read Sun Spots before Dear Abby.

— Ron Jean, Lewiston

Sun Spots is very pleased to have beaten out Dear Abby in any category. Thank you for the fine compliment.

As for your new vacuum, Sun Spots buys her Dirt Devil bags and belts from her local hardware store, so you might try that first. Another option is a vacuum repair shop. The Vac Shak
is at 485 Pleasant St. in Lewiston, 783-2902.

If you want to go straight to the original source, visit or call them at 1-800-321-1134. They should have everything you could possibly want for your new vacuum.  

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to [email protected]

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