February 1: St. Tryphon, Patron Saint of Birds
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
The third century martyr, St. Tryphon, who had the task of tending geese as a child, was also known from his childhood to possess the graces of casting out demons and obtaining the favor of God through prayer. He is credited with having saved his village from starvation by praying that a plague of locusts which had descended upon their grain crops be driven away from their fields. He is also known as the patron saint of birds due to a Russian legend that comes from the time of Tsar Ivan the Terrible.
The tsar's falconer, named Tryphon Patrykiev, was hunting one day and carelessly lost the tsar's favorite falcon. Enraged by the loss of his prized bird, Tsar Ivan ordered that Tryphon be given three days to find the bird, or he would have to pay for his mistake with his life. Of course, Tryphon Patrykiev spent his every waking moment looking for the bird and on the third day of the search he grew so exhausted that he fell down under a tree to catch his breath and there, he fell fast asleep. In a dream, the martyr Tryphon, his patron saint, appeared to him riding a white horse and carrying the missing falcon on his arm. He told the man not to worry any longer, and that he had heard his frantic prayers and would come to his aid. Once Tryphon Patrykiev awoke, he was thrilled and surprised to have promptly spotted the falcon in a nearby pine tree and he rejoiced and praised his patron saint and gave thanks to God for sparing his life as he took the bird back to his owner, the Tsar.
It seems only fitting that we should make something today that has to do with both grain and birds, reminding us of both miracles attributed to St. Tryphon: lets build a bird feeder, or tend to the ones we already have, filling them with grain in honor of the saint.
We made this feeder by cutting the top off of a plastic 1liter bottle and then cutting the flat bottom out of a disposable plastic bowl. Slipping the bowl over the top of the bottle, we then covered it with aluminum foil to form a little dome to make a little awning for your bird friends while they eat. Next, we punched two holes in the bottom of the plastic bottle top (from underneath the bowl), directly opposite each other and ran both ends of a length of string down through the mouth of the bottle and then we slipped each end of the string through one of the holes. Meanwhile, we took a cardboard toilet tissue roll and smeared the outside of it generously with peanut butter and rolled it in some birdseed. Then, we slipped one end of the string through the toilet tissue roll and tied it to the other string, hiding the knot inside the tube. You may have to slide your string around a bit to make it look even. Then you can hang the bird feeder outside and see what birds may come and visit!