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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  • How long do other seeds stay fresk? Sunflower seeds? Millet? Safflower?
    by Sue, Sat, 06 Feb 2021
  • I understand that the ducks' blood vessel arrangement in their feet is to provide the benefits of the counter-current heat exchanger mechanism; returning cold venous blood from the feet is warmed by the descending warm arterial blood, preventing excess heat loss by the feet and avoiding cold blood from chilling the body. This means that the feet are cold, not warm.
    by Frank Barch, Sat, 02 Jan 2021
  • I have the same situation. The feeder is attached to the middle of a large picture window that goes ceiling to floor w/ no ledge or sill for animals to climb or balance. Yet every morning all the sunflower seeds have been cracked open and hulls left. Any ideas what it is?
    by Liza Fox, Sun, 15 Nov 2020
  • I have a bird feeder that sticks to my window and I've been hearing noises against the window at night right now its going on. But whatever it is it is aware of me. And when I get to window it leaves.I can't imagine a squirrel or mouse or possom being able to get at it. ...So as I was reading this article im to assume no bird eats at night. Or no birds will eat at night. Why is that? Then im also thinking of a sinereo that could a lost confused bird eat at night. This eating thing is watching meI turn out the light go there noise dissappears..Thank you.
    by Nosferatu, Thu, 05 Nov 2020
  • I have metal baffles (cones) on my pole for my bird feeders. Something is still tempting them at night. What else could it be? Deer???
    by Ella Spencer Connolly, Thu, 27 Aug 2020