Monday, May 17, 2010

My Grandmother's Bird Feeder

Today is Syttende Mai, Norway’s constitution day, and I’m thinking about my grandmother. She had a small herb garden, an apple tree, and a few rose shrubs. She also had bird feeders. Her feeders weren’t the tube feeders I have in my gardens for songbirds. These were tray-like feeders off both the kitchen and dining room windows. I had never seen a bird feeder like it and was convinced that no bird would come to a feeder that was attached to the house with no “cover” close by.

But, come they did! The main visitors to these feeders were sea gulls, who came for bread crusts, left over boiled potatoes, and fish heads. Occasionally, another bird would visit, but the most frequent visitors were the gulls.

I was so fascinated by my grandmother’s bird feeder that I wanted to have one like it at my home. But, squirrels would be the main visitors to a tray-like feeder here in the city, so I stick to the tube feeders. My dad must have had a similar memory of the Norwegian bird feeder, because he built one for his kitchen window! He gets both birds and squirrels at his kitchen window, where he puts out seed not fish heads.

My grandmother had bird feeders as a way to prevent kitchen waste. I have mine because I enjoy sitting in the sunroom and hearing and seeing the birds that come for the seeds. But, I think about her (and the fish heads and sea gulls) every time I put the seeds out.

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