A Family’s Bird Feeding Story

Ann McCarthy, manager of our Eagan All Seasons Wild Bird Store location, shares her family’s bird feeding story. 


father and daughter filling bird feeder

It all started with a bird feeder…

In the mid-70’s my folks moved our family to Eagan. We settled in to our new home located on an acre lot that included a small pond. Around us were cornfields, woodlands and mostly dirt roads. While it wasn’t an ideal situation for a social, teenage girl—looking back on it—it was magical.

My dad created a haven for wildlife right in our backyard. It all started with a bird feeder and some black oilers he purchased at the local grain elevator in Rosemount. Over time, he planted some pines, birch and dogwoods. He hung some nesting boxes and created brush piles. Ultimately, he planted native flowers and clover to benefit birds, butterflies and bees. Dad did not use pesticides so we had turtles, snakes, frogs and toads. Soon, he had pulled together all four of the components of a good habitat: cover, food, space and water. After a bit, my mom had a sign made—“BIRDLAND.”

Our “window to nature” was real. We had warblers, finches, hummers, killdeer, jays and cardinals. We had shoreline birds and waterfowl nesting on our property. We had fireflies, butterflies and bumblebees.

You may be wondering, how is this trip down memory lane relevant to me—to my busy suburban family? You can create your “window to nature” in your backyard. The purchase of a single bird feeder in 1975 provided our entire family with a connection to nature and a lifelong love of birds. Now, the grandkids are in the mix, too.

Feeding the birds is easy to do regardless of age, physicality, or experience level. Introducing your kids to bird feeding, watching and nature in general has many benefits including a decrease in screen time and stress as well as an increase in the ability to be still, and to be fully present in the moment. Who knows—a simple purchase of a bird feeder may lead to a lifelong connection to nature for you and your family. Forever grateful.

A woman reads about birds with two children while visiting our Eagan store.