Nov 21, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, December 2018

Variety Attracts Variety

A feeding station with a variety of foods will attract a variety of species to your backyard.
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To attract the widest variety of birds, offer food in more than one feeder type. An ideal feeding station has multiple feeders at varying heights, offering several types of food. Consider offering safflower seeds in a tube, a high-quality seed mix in a hopper or a platform, a peanut dispenser, sunflower hearts or bits in a dome-protected dish or satellite feeder, fruit on a tray, and/or mealworms in a shallow bowl. Scatter cracked corn and white proso millet on the ground. Offer suet cakes in a cage with a tail prop, or homemade Zick Dough on a saucer.

Zick Dough (Recipe by Julie Zickefoose)

Melt together in microwave until liquid:
• 1 cup lard
• 1 cup peanut butter

Combine separately:
• 2 cups quick oats
• 2 cups chick starter, unmedicated (available at feed store)
• 1 cup yellow cornmeal
• 1 cup flour

Put dry ingredients in mixer and blend. Slowly pour in melted lard/peanut butter mixture until a crumbly, lumpy consistency is attained. Store in peanut butter jars. Does not need refrigeration.

If the dough turns out too gummy, slowly add in flour and cornmeal while the mixer turns until the dough crumbles. Serve crumbled. This food is meant to be served in cold weather; it is too rich for summer feeding.



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  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021
  • This breaks my heart. God strengthen your spirit and comfort your heart.I am fortunate to be taking a vacation next month, hopefully before sky high inflation hits and I can no longer afford it.
    by Ironweeds, Fri, 27 Aug 2021
  • What is emptying my jelly feeder overnight.
    by Gary Vandervest, Wed, 25 Aug 2021
  • Thank you, Dawn. I'm close enough to Ohio (Ann Arbor, Michigan) that I went ahead and took my tubes down and scoured clean all my bird baths. I won't put up my tubes this winter, just my trays and safflower only just to keep the bullies away for a while.
    by Pat Moore, Mon, 09 Aug 2021