Feed the Birds

It’s a rough world for the birds that tough out Michigan winters – why not show the little guys some appreciation for sticking around? Go beyond blasé birdseed and recycle while you’re at it by smartly offering kitchen scraps: overripe berries, melon and pumpkin seeds, eggshells, peanut butter, stale nuts, cooked pasta and even grape jelly (woodpeckers love the stuff) can all be put out on a platform feeder. If you’re feeling especially crafty, try making your own suet cakes – just save up trimmed gristle in your freezer, then render it over low heat, add peanut butter and cool before packing in a suet feeder. Hang and let the feasting commence!

Emily Bingham is assistant editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. [email protected]

Note: This article was originally published in January 2008 and was updated for the web February 2008.

Article Comments

  • Anonymous

    Please note that feeding the wild birds, ducks included, crackers or bread is not a good idea. The bread swells in their stomachs, provides little or no nutritional value and can kill or sicken the birds if mold or bacteria is present.
    Other items to avoid are chocolate, raw sugar, dyes like those found in hummingbird nectar, large pieces of nuts, salted foods. A good rule is simply to not supply an item not found naturally by the birds! If you are going to “help” and enjoy the birds please be responsible in doing so by also cleaning your feeders weekly!