In the city of Helsinki, environmental artist Polly Balitro has launched a project to help city birds and reconnect residents with nature. To this end, she recycled 100 butter containers into painted and customized bird feeders – the results were donated to urban dwellers who pledged to install and maintain them. Since the artist wanted to stay in touch and establish a dialog on urban bird feeding, she also provided the recipients with postcards to collect feedback on the feeding process.
Her two pre-printed questions: “Does feeding birds make you happy? Why?”
While the replies varied from person to person, they did tend to have a common theme. Some people answered that feeding birds is a family – or Finnish – tradition, others claimed to like helping birds during the winter or spotting feathered friends at their feeders. The most striking fact, however, was that the majority said that they simply felt good about feeding birds.
And they continue to spread the joy of food and shelter: Balitro’s 100 Feeders are still out there – and hopefully still well-stocked with delicious snacks.
Naturally, 100 Feeders is only a small example of humans helping city-dwelling animals. Yet no matter the scale, it shows just how easy and rewarding it can be to reconnect with nature.
And building a feeder is not hard work. So, feel free to grab a box, add a hole, and hang it up filled with bird-friendly food. Then, all it takes is a little time and leisure: Lean back and enjoy watching the birds make it through winter thanks to your help and creativity.
Text: Frank R. Schröder
All pictures, incl. the header image: Polly Balitro