There are some concerns about serving peanut butter to songbirds. It is a great source of protein and salt and there is no question that birds love it. The concern is if a bird eats straight peanut butter, it may cake and clog its mouth and throat because birds lack salivary glands. Research on this issue is inconclusive, however, you can assure that the birds enjoy their treat by providing a nearby water source and by mixing cornmeal or lard with the peanut butter.
Tip: Peanut butter is a great attraction when mixed with suet and corn meal as described in the home recipe.
Birds love stale baked goods, such as cookies, doughnuts, pie crust, sweet buns or bread because they have lots of fat in them. They can be ground and mixed with suet but the easiest way is to break them into smaller pieces and place on a tray feeder. Other items to try include cereals, such as oatmeal or ready-to-eat box cereals, which the kids wanted to buy but didn’t like once they tried it. Broken potato chips are good too.
While it’s important to have water available whenever you feed birds, it’s especially so when you offer baked goods. The bread or rolls need to be moist so the parents can feed their babies. The parents need to wash down their own bakery products to avoid choking on dry food.
Other Neat Stuff
Popcorn is Popular: Birds will devour your stale popcorn. Just throw the popcorn on a tray feeder. A fun project for the kids is to string the popcorn and hang it on any available shrub or tree.
Bacon and Eggs: Serve birds bacon and eggs by mixing 1/3 cup bacon fat with six leftover hardboiled egg yolks. Cook, chop and place them on a plate near their feeding area or on a feeding platform.
Squash, Melon and Pumpkin Seeds: Don’t throw those seeds away. The birds love them. Save them and then dry them on a tray in the sun, protected from squirrels. You can serve them as is, or grind and mix them with homemade suet.