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Bird Feeding - A Brief History


Humans have been feeding birds for a very long time. In the Old Testament of the bible, there is a passage which talks about leaving behind some of the harvest for the birds to glean. Possibly this was the root of the custom to put out bundles of wheat for the birds.

Where ever this activity began, it has become a favored pastime for many. The history of bird feeding in America dates back to 1845, when Henry David Thoreau fed birds at Walden Pond. In 1926, the first commercially made birdfeeder, designed for hummingbirds, went on the market. Today, more than 50 million Americans put out a billion pounds of birdfeed each year. It has been estimated that 1/3 of the adult population feeds wild birds in their backyards. Bird feeding is an entertaining, educational and inexpensive activity that can be shared by children and adults alike. It is an excellent form of relaxation and serves to relieve stress. Bringing nature “within our grasp” not only connects us to other creatures on our planet, but provides us with the pleasure and satisfaction of helping them survive and thrive, especially when the weather is less than hospitable.

Setting out seed helps the most in Winter

Feeding wild birds is an easy hobby to start. You can accomplish this with a simple window feeder or throw yourself into a larger project and create an outside bird sanctuary. The level of involvement, time and money you wish to spend is up to you. Go with either Black Oil Sunflower Seed or Premium Wild Bird Seed Mix to attract a wide variety of bird species, or whichever specialty blend suits your needs based on the birds you wish to attract. Start small and go from there. It is a wonderful way to reconnect with the world in which we live and some of its most beautiful and interesting inhabitants, birds.

February is National Bird-Feeding Month. In January 1994, Illinois Congressman, John Porter, read a resolution in the Congressional Record creating this. This observance was established because wintertime is one of the most difficult periods in North American for birds to survive in the wild.

Some interesting facts to consider

  • A typical backyard bird does not weigh as much as two nickels.
  • Birds spend most of their waking hours searching for food. They do this without the added help that “hands and fingers” can provide.
  • They consume 15% of their body weight overnight just keeping warm enough to survive.
  • They live their entire lives outside, battling the elements, be they sleet, snow, wind or cold temperatures.

The above and volumes more can be accessed at: