Tag Archives: history of bird feeding

People Have Been Feeding Birds for Centuries

Since February is National Bird Feeding Month, we wanted to share a bit of history about what is now one of America’s top hobbies. As it turns out, humans have been drawn to bird feeding for a very long time. Here are four interesting facts about the history bird feeding.

One) According to naturalist James Fisher, a monk who lived in the sixth century was one of the earliest known bird feeders. Saint Serf of Fife tamed a pigeon by feeding it.

Two) Henry David Thoreau wrote of feeding birds at Walden Pond in 1845. Around the same time period, John James Audubon wrote about feeding hummingbirds in his most famous publication, The Birds of America.

Three) In the harsh winter of 1890-91 in Britain, 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”.

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

Today, more than 50 million Americans put out a billion pounds of bird feed each year. In fact, according to Wikipedia about one in three adult Americans feed wild birds in their backyards. The relaxing hobby that helps people feel more connected to nature is now known as the second most popular hobby in America. Gardening is listed as the number one hobby.