This One is for The Birds (and their human admirers)

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Published on: Mar. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

Osborn drills three rows of holes evenly spaced around the bat. Dowels serve as perches. Carolina wrens, downy woodpeckers, house finches and chickadees all visit the feeder, which Osborn hangs just outside his kitchen window.

Ken Richardson, Springfield: Clay Bird Feeders

"Initially, the birds were kind of hesitant," says Ken Richardson, of his earthenware sculptured bird feeders. "I'd say they stayed away for 30 minutes or so after I filled the first one. They looked it over pretty carefully." But soon his feeders were attracting a variety of birds.

The birds hop among clay figures; they eat seeds from tiny sidewalk scenes, near people sitting on a bench or peaking around corners, among animals crawling this way and that. Richardson is a librarian in a middle school, but has been making functional pottery for several years. He travels to art festivals and exhibits around the state.

"Every one is different, and I try to personalize each one. They kind of evolve."

Terra Landholt, Hermann: Landholt General Store Bird Feeder

Built by her great uncle, Joe Landholt, Terra Landholt's bird feeder is a replica of the store her great, great-grandfather owned in Starkenburg. Terra was 5 years old when she won the feeder as a prize at a family reunion. "We all put our names on a piece of paper, then in a bag. They were all shook up, and my name was pulled out."

Joe Landholt remembers visiting the store in Starkenburg as a child. "My grandfather established the store in 1900 and he was also the Postmaster," he explains. "I built this feeder based on what I remember, when I visited the store later on as a kid. I've made one for every one of my nieces and nephews so they'll know a little bit of family history." Terra Landholt decided the feeder was too nice to put outside, so she keeps it in her room.

Ozzie Overby and Robert Howland, Columbia: Parthenon Bird Feeder

If it's possible to build a bird feeder that up-stages your house, then Ozzie Overby and Robert Howland have done it. Father- and son-in-law, they recreated one of the world's most architecturally magnificent structures: the Parthenon, which sits atop the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

Sometimes neighborhood kids ask what it is. "I usually tell them it's an exploration of the dialogue between culture and nature. I'm not sure what they go home and tell their parents," says Overby, with a smile. "But then I give them the real answer."

Howland built the Parthenon-feeder out of plywood. He used plastic soldiers and a disassembled nativity scene to recreate the friezes on each end. Overby came up with the idea to mount it on a column, which he salvaged from a house that was being torn down. "It's just another weird thing in my father-in-law's yard," says Howland. "Only this time, I'm an accomplice."

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