On February 23, 1994 Congressman John Porter (IL) made February National Bird Feeding Month when he read a resolution into the Congressional Record.
While February is certainly one of the hardest months for our feathered friends, it really is best to feed them all year long–and not just for your enjoyment of watching as they find your feeders. There are lots of websites that you can visit to learn more about helping the birds: which food is best for which birds, what type of bird houses you should supply for them, which bird feeders will work best for your locale, and so much more. One site that I am excited to join in is the Great Backyard Bird Count! That said, bird watching is also very good for our souls.
I remember as a little girl sitting with my grandmother, Rose Behnke, looking out her dining room window, watching all the birds (and yes squirrels!) enjoy the food my grandfather put out for them. Of course not any old bird feeder would do. He built a very large platform that he put out in their rock garden every winter. This was about 2 feet from the window and sat on old saw horses so it was up off the ground. He placed branches around the table and always some sort of bird bath. The fun started as he had different dishes of bird food spread out on the platform, along with hanging feeders from shepherd’s hooks for those birds that would rather eat from there. Each morning he refilled the seed and late each afternoon he would go out and clean the space off. It is very important to keep your feeders and area clean, both for the health of the birds and to keep other animals away.
Now, my husband enjoys feeding the birds. Just hanging bird feeders for us, but just as beautiful. I love watching the different birds that come and visit. From woodpeckers to tiny little snow birds, we have them all. But my favorite will always be the cardinals. I remember hearing my grandmother saying while smiling: “Cardinals appear when angels are near.” She had sayings for pretty much everything in life; sayings that she either made up or read somewhere. Now a lot of times people will say when they see a cardinal that a loved one from heaven is sending a sign that they are with you.
I hope that you too can take the time to do some bird watching after you put some fresh bird food out for them. Watch with your children or grandchildren and just relax and enjoy! Wishing you a very happy National Bird Feeding Month!
by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President