From Your Kitchen to the Bird Feeder

Peanut butter and jelly popular with birds too.

We are often asked about the best seed or food for birds.  The standard answer is good old black-oil sunflower.  It is popular with many species, easy to serve in a variety of feeders and fairly inexpensive.  Adding a little variety to the foods you serve can attract new species.  And you do not have to look further than your own kitchen.

Peanut butter
Native sparrows, nuthatches, wrens and woodpeckers really go for peanut butter.  Check the 'dollar' stores or discount chains for the super large bottle to get the best price.  Mix in a little corn meal and you're good to go.  Spread on the side of a tree or a branch and sit back to enjoy the birds.  Chipping Sparrows, juncos, White-throated Sparrows and several species of woodpeckers regularly visit my peanut butter offerings.

Don't worry, the peanut butter will not stick to the roof of their mouths.

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrows seem to like my mix of peanut butter and cornmeal.

Grape jelly
Some birds have a sweet tooth.  Mockingbirds and woodpeckers will feed on grape jelly, at least mine do.  What I keep hoping for, however, are the orioles.  Orioles really like grape jelly.  If you live in an area with orioles, try feeding grape jelly in a dish.  You might go through a jar or two before they show up, but if you are lucky they will start looking for their jelly fix each day.

Several species of birds like fruit.  Orange and grapefruit halves will attract orioles and woodpeckers.  I do not have too much luck with oranges or grapefruit, but in parts of the country where oranges and grapefruits are grown, they are a popular offering.

Raisons, dried blueberries and sliced apples can also prove to be popular offerings.

Yes, its OK to feed birds bread.  I wouldn't do it every day but a little bread in the diet will not hurt the birds.

Expand your peanut butter offering by adding suet, nuts and fruit.  Some people make their own suet and you can find a few recipes on this page.

I prefer to purchase suet cakes,  They are usually less than $2.00 and last quite a while.  Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers visit my suet feeder in the winter, along with Carolina Wrens, White-breasted Nuthatch and a very protective mockingbird.

What, you do not keep mealworms in your kitchen?  Must just be me.  Mealworms are a very popular, high-in-protein food.  Bluebirds absolutely love them.  Mealworms can be purchased online or from your local bird specialty store.  You can even find them at stores like PETCO.  Go for the smaller ones (the mealworms, not the stores).

OK, not many of you will normally have Nyjer seed in your kitchen.  The small Nyjer seed is very popular with finches.  Offer Nyjer in a seed sock or a tube feeder designed for Nyjer.  Goldfinches get along with each other pretty well.  I have seen three and four foot long finch feeders (filled with Nyjer) that were virtually covered with goldfinches. 

Visit the attracting birds section for more information on feeding and attracting birds.