Andrew Page had just finished describing the calls of barred owls that are audible from his North Yarmouth home, when one of the white-speckled birds of prey silently and serendipitously alighted on a nearby branch with a freshly killed mouse in its beak.

“You can’t hope for much better than that,” he said on a recent summery afternoon.

The Pages, a family of four, are relatively new to backyard birding. They had a few feeders scattered around the yard, but when the family was suddenly homebound beginning in mid-March, their fascination with birds took flight.

“We started getting into it during the pandemic, because it was the only thing to entertain ourselves during the course of the day,” said Page, a program manager for Idexx.

The Pages aren’t alone.

At Freeport Wild Bird Supply, sales are soaring as socially distanced telecommuters discover a new world just beyond their walls.


“May was our best month ever in 16 years of being in business,” said Derek Lovitch, co-owner of the Route 1 birding shop. “Due to the circumstances of the spring, I think a lot of people started realizing how cool this stuff was. And because you were home with nothing else to do, you took a second look. Then you looked longer.”

Such was the case for Geoff and Betsy Gattis. In the sunroom of their Falmouth home, a pair of binoculars lies atop a Peterson’s guide on a coffee table.

“What a show,” said Geoff Gattis, who is retired. “The activity on certain days is really exciting. I don’t know if I would have said that in the past about bird feeders.”

Outside their picture-glass window is an array of eight feeders and four suet holders – a $200 spree that began after the pandemic started.

“It’s not that big of an investment, per dollar of entertainment,” he said.

The feeders have played host to rose-breasted grosbeaks, orioles, three species of woodpeckers, indigo buntings and more.

“This was a crowded place in the spring,” he said.

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