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 feeding the birds at my home for over 20 years and have multiple bird houses all over. I'm getting old and I'm worried more about the poor birds that occupy the bird houses and where they will go when I'm gone and someone else buys my house and takes down all the bird houses.
    by Linda DiPierro, Sun, 01 Dec 2019
  • i live in watauga county nc and bluejays left our area on tuesday aug 20 2019! About twenty came in for their feed of peanuts, then left. It has been so quiet since they left. The gold finches are busy feeding.
    by Rhoda Buffalo, Thu, 22 Aug 2019
  • Really?! I have two (2) feeders that hold just over a pound each of Safflower seeds (I weighed) and I have to fill them up EVERY day. The small birds absolutely love these seeds!
    by David John Repischak, Mon, 05 Aug 2019
  • I use frisbees for umbrellas. Sometimes I get them free at events. I use red over hummingbird feeders. Helps to attract them.
    by wnyfalconfan, Mon, 05 Aug 2019
  • I recently were given two new bird feeders. Both have not been touched by any birds. Its been nearly 6 month, why is this? One is like a larger orange Hazel nut with an open front & the other is a yellow honey comb with 3 sides open.Is it the colour which scares the birds? I have the same feed in them as in my old feeder, which I need to refill regularly. Many thanks. Doreen
    by Doreen Atkins, Mon, 29 Jul 2019