We will probably never be sure where and when the practice of feeding wild birds originated. However, there is evidence that this popular activity may have begun in Scandinavia.
It seems that centuries ago it was a popular custom to feed birds at Christmas. At Christmas time, folks would hang sheaves of oats or wheat laden with seeds atop a long pole. Families erected this unusual bird feeder on Christmas Eve. It is said that family competed with one another to see who could raise their sheaf the highest.
Remarkably, this age-old custom has survived the passage of time; it even made its way to this country. In the United States, it is most often practiced in the upper Midwest in states such as Minnesota. However, those that now celebrate the custom place sheaves of grain outside their windows instead atop of a tall pole.
It is doubtful that we will ever see sheaves of grain suspended from a pole, or even hanging outside a window in Georgia. However, feeding birds at this special time of year should be a custom we all practice–my wife and I do. This Christmas, the birds frequenting our backyard will be offered a smorgasbord of delights including white millet, sugar water, peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, suet, cornbread, and grape jelly. Nearby, they can wash down their holiday meal with a drink of clean water from a birdbath.
Will you be preparing a Christmas banquet for your backyard birds? I hope so.