That surreal experience as well as viewing feeder birds from our East Tennessee dining room window and seeing wholly different kinds of birds on beach vacations, are childhood memories that helped shape my later birding life. And so did that little guide.
When we authors started researching our book, I read through it carefully. A quote from Chester Reed’s Introduction struck me as just right for ours: “By tying suet to limbs of trees in winter, and providing a small board upon which grain, crumbs, etc., may be sprinkled, large numbers of winter birds may be fed; of these, probably only the Chickadees will remain to nest, if they can find a suitable place.” Paul and Carrol agreed, and so, Chester Reed’s 1906 voice and bird-feeding descriptions get to be shared with a 21st century audience.
This style of coconut feeder has been a popular and effective design for at least a hundred years. Reprinted from W. L. McAtee, How to Attract Birds in Northeastern UnitedStates, Farmer’s Bulletin No. 621, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Bureauof Biological Survey (1914).
Books on bird attracting became popular. One hundred years ago, Ernest Harold Baynes wrote Wild Bird Guests: How to Entertain Them. In it he implored that where deep snows prevailed in towns in winter, “birds be provided for and not allowed to starve.” Community bird feeding by groups such as local bird clubs, Junior Audubon Clubs, Boy Scouts, sportsmen’s clubs and other volunteers, proliferated in some parts of the country. Both songbirds and game birds routinely were provisioned.
Window tray feeders continue to be popular. This 1915
Christmas gift card tells the recipient that Bird-Lore soon
will arrive. Courtesy the Eddie Woodin Collection.