History of Feeding Wild Birds

James Fisher wrote that the first person recorded as feeding wild birds was the 6th-century monk Saint Serf of Fife who tamed a pigeon by feeding it. During the harsh winter of 1890-1891 in the United Kingdom national newspapers asked people to put out food for birds. In 1910 in the United Kingdom, Punch magazine declared that feeding birds was a “national pastime.” Today in the United Kingdom, most people feed year-round, and enough food is provided to support the calorie requirements of the 10 most common garden bird species Bird feeding has grown into the United States’ second most popular hobby behind gardening. To celebrate the bird feeding hobby, February was named National Bird-Feeding Month by congressional decree in 1994.

History of Bird Baths and Bird Feeders

To attract birds to your backyard, one must provide the basic requirements of life. One of the easiest things that you can provide birds is a source of water. The first birdbaths were depressions in the ground, shallow streams, holes in rocks or any other surface that would hold water. Birds would land near the area to drink and bathe. As mankind observed this behavior, they desired to mimic it. The Pulham & Sons Company developed the first recorded birdbath in Europe in the 1840s.

The next requirement that one needs to meet when attracting birds is food. While there are natural plants that can be planted to attract birds, another approach is to provide them with a feeder. But this technology did not happen over night. The first report of someone feeding birds in the United States came from Henry David Thoreau. It was stated in 1845 that he was feeding birds on Walden Pond. The first bird feeder to be commercially made was for the hummingbird. Today there are a wide vary of bird feeders to choose from. Some of these are platforms while others are simple mesh socks or house shaped seed dispensers. The key to using a bird feeder is simple. First, to keep the squirrels out of the feed, consider one with a squirrel guard.

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