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 blasĂ© 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.

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