For the last five years, George Trierweiler has provided a safe haven for birds in his backyard.

“I call it my sanctuary because everything that comes in is safe,” Trierweiler said. “There is no shooting, air guns or BB guns.”

His mother, Mabel, had a love for birds. She passed away in 2016.

“That is how I got interested in collecting bird feeders and houses,” he said.

Since her passing last year, Trierweiler has added one of her open-feeder bird houses for cardinals to his collection of 48 houses and 32 feeders scattered throughout the trees on his 1.4-acre piece of land on the south side of Sauk Centre.

Trierweiler, 73, spends an hour, twice a week, making sure all the feeders are full for their tiny visitors including chickadees, bluebirds, cardinals, wrens, American Goldfinch, House Finch, Mourning Doves, Tree Swallows, cowbirds, sparrows, catbirds and blackbirds. 

“I’m getting to the point where I almost have enough bird feeders for each bird,” he said.

Throughout the season, which lasts from April through the end of November, Trierweiler goes through nearly 600 pounds of sunflower seeds.

“My wife, Shirley, said we spend more money on bird seed than we do to feed ourselves,” Trierweiler chuckled. “And it’s probably true.”

Some of the bird feeders Trierweiler has made himself, some he received as a gift and others he bought at antique stores.

“I have 10 gourds that I’ve dried out and then drilled holes in for birds,” he said.  “They have worked really well and I’ve even made homes out of coconuts.”

Other houses that Trierweiler has made show off his sense of creativity including a stone house with a ceramic backsplash, a birdhouse made out of corks and a stone house with a cedar roof.

“I enjoy doing it and I have the time to do it now that I am retired,” he said.

Most evenings until November, Trierweiler will take a seat on his back patio and browse the trees with his binoculars.

“The chickadees I seem to see the most. They fly down to grab one seed and then leave,” he said. “They are quick.” 

Before the Trierweilers vacate south for the winter, they are sure to have plenty of feed on hand for the birds in the sanctuary.

“The birds that make it to the sanctuary are welcome to stay forever if they want to,” he said.