When I started to get into bird feeding, people would ask me about it and I would respond and add a self-deprecating “yeah…I guess I must mentally be an old man”.
And yes, this is true. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. by choice and will enjoy a Werther’s Originals candy if it’s presented to me…But it bums me out that there’s a perception that feeding birds is only for older people.
It’s time to make bird feeding cool for millennials and Gen-Z. I want to convince people my age that feeding the birds is a fun, cheap, healthy, and fulfilling hobby to pick up.
The top benefit I gain from bird feeding is that it brings me closer to nature. Observing the beauty and personality of birds right from my couch is an easy way to feel closer to something bigger.
If nothing else, millennials and Gen-Zs should try bird feeding because it gives you a window into the outside world. I’m going to actually sound like an old man here, but we (myself included!) desperately need an excuse to unplug and look away from Tik Tok, Netflix, and the horrible news circulating social media right now. Bird feeding is a fantastic way to escape. That’s why it was so appealing for me to start during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Bird feeding has also had a positive cascading effect on how I view the environment, giving me another reason to live a more sustainable life. I recycle more and use less. I’m taking small actions to buy more sustainable products. When we get a house someday, I’m taking this to the next level. I’m already envisioning a yard full of native plants and trees. I’ll also reduce or eliminate fertilizers and find ways to compost.
We can all help birds with the choices we make everyday. They need our help. The population of songbirds in North America has dropped more than 30% since 1970.
Speaking anecdotally, bird feeding has also come with health benefits:
- Reduced stress. Scientific studies like this one confirm it!
- My anxiety has dropped. Having a hobby to focus on always helps.
- I feel a sense of joy watching birds in the morning and the evening. This plays into a lower-stress beginning and end-of-day routine.
- There’s a sense of community from talking to others and sharing bird seed with local non-profits.
If you want to feel happier and less stressed…Feed the birds!
Is it possible for a hobby viewed as old-fashioned to make its way into younger generations? Sure it is. Let me give you an example…up until several years ago, pickleball was viewed as a sport solely for older people and retirement homes. However, the fun and approachability of pickleball has caught on with younger people. Now it’s the fastest growing sport in America and the average age of a player has dropped to just over 38-years-old.
Why can’t bird feeding have its younger-generation moment next? This is a hobby, much like pickleball, that’s easy to start doing and requires no previous experience. All you need to do is jump in.
Do you need to be like me and have multiple feeders hanging with a bird blog and Tik Tok account? Absolutely not. Buy a cheap feeder with sunflower seed or a $15 nectar feeder for hummingbirds in the summer. Put it out and when the birds arrive, I guarantee it will bring joy to your life.
If you’ve started bird feeding and it’s improved your life, or if you’re curious and don’t know where to start, I always love talking to people about this hobby. Post a comment below or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.