My Journey to Birds

My earliest memory of feeding birds was when I lived on acreage north of Taylors Falls. The previous owners had left a large tube feeder filled with Nyjer® hanging on a pole. I continued filling it and was rewarded by the sight of dozens of goldfinches every day. Living in the country close to the St. Croix River offered many opportunities for bird watching. I especially recall watching the raptors, which were new to me — an owl perched on a fencepost eating its prey, hawks hunting in the fields, eagles soaring overhead.

Years passed and I eventually moved back to the Twin Cities and during a series of job changes and moves, I had no opportunities to get back to feeding birds.

American Goldfinches on Nyjer® feeder
Goldfinches on a Nyjer® tube feeder

In 2020, I was one of many employees who began working from home. Being close to home most of the time brought back the idea of feeding the birds. I had previously hung flower baskets from my shepherds hooks, and the hummingbirds would occasionally visit. I decided to make a change and hang bird feeders instead. I bought a hummingbird feeder and started making my own nectar. It was a thrill to take a break from work and watch hummingbirds visit and feed. Then I added a suet cake and very quickly the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers found it.

Next, I added a birdbath, which was almost more fun than the feeders. The female cardinals especially enjoyed a long, splash-filled bath. The male cardinals were more concerned with preening than actually bathing. They would take a quick dip in the water, then get back to preening and looking good for the females. The House Finches came in groups and splashed away happily. Recently I added a tube feeder and welcomed back the goldfinches with Nyjer®, and another feeder with Golden Safflower.

After I retired, I heard that All Seasons Wild Bird Store (where I shopped) was hiring part-time help. I stopped in one day and spoke with Carol, and you can guess the rest—I’m now a retail clerk at the Minnetonka store. We have many customers who share photos and information, and I enjoy adding to my knowledge of birds and feeding every day.

By Minnetonka store employee LORI BERNIER

Ruby-throated hummingbirds