Birds love peanut but­ter

The Progress-Index - At Home - - FRONT PAGE - BY NORMAN WIN­TER

As the birds came dart­ing and swoop­ing into the feed­ers like ae­rial ac­ro­bats, the looks on the chil­dren’s faces were my re­ward.

We’ve just opened our bird feed­ing sta­tion at the Colum­bus Botan­i­cal Garden and I spent many hours won­der­ing if the success I had with peanut but­ter logs in the Lower Rio Grande Val­ley could be du­pli­cated in Ge­or­gia. The an­swer is an un­equiv­o­cal yes, and the good news is you can do it can too!

We first de­signed our area with a 3-foot­tall thicket on the outer perime­ter. This serves as a won­der­ful shel­ter for lit­tle birds need­ing ex­tra pro­tec­tion. We in­stalled three shal­low water sta­tions built from hand­made glazed-clay saucers at­tached to 4-foot-tall log-like posts. The water is changed daily but will soon have a con­tin­u­ous drip. Water is an ab­so­lute in cre­at­ing your back­yard feed­ing sta­tion.

All of our feed­ers are at­tached to 8-foot­tall tree-like posts. We have black-oiled sun­flower feed­ers that are draw­ing finches in epic pro­por­tions, as well as chick­adees, but the peanut but­ter logs are do­ing their part too. They are bring­ing in war­blers, wood­peck­ers, tufted tit­mice and more. It seems ev­ery­day new birds are find­ing our feed­ing area.

Ev­ery­one has their fa­vorite recipes, in­clud­ing straight peanut but­ter, both crunchy and smooth.

If you are like most, you’ll grav­i­tate to what­ever peanut but­ter is on sale. We have cho­sen to mix ours with corn­meal and it has cer­tainly proven to be a blend equal to the task.

Our peanut but­ter logs vary in size but are gen­er­ally about 24 inches in length. Six,

}-inch wide holes were drilled a lit­tle less than an inch deep. Th­ese holes will later be filled with your peanut but­ter blend. Some of our feed­ers have also had lit­tle quar­ter inch holes drilled be­low the large ones so that branch like pieces of wood could be in­serted for perches. We did not use th­ese in Texas, but they have proven quite use­ful here in Ge­or­gia, as they seem to be in con­tin­ual use.

While the feed­ers will do their part to get you, your chil­dren or grand­chil­dren hooked, a pair of binoc­u­lars will be a tool that will for­ever change your world when it comes to bird­ing. Once you be­gin watch­ing their eyes, the ro­tat­ing of their heads and their grace­ful mo­tion in flight, seen close-up through the lens, you will be a dif­fer­ent per­son.

While we have added a feed­ing sta­tion and ex­panded the world of bird­ing to our area, we are a garden and first be­gan by plant­ing na­tive plants that pro­duce berries loved by birds. Na­tive yaupon hol­lies, Amer­i­can hol­lies, dog­woods and beauty berry are found through­out our 25 acres as is my fa­vorite the south­ern wax myr­tle that has been doc­u­mented to feed 40 species of birds.

No mat­ter where you live you can bring the world of bird­ing to your yard, a park or a nearby school both with feed­ers, bird­baths or foun­tains, and strong sup­port from na­tive plants. The birds will re­ward your ef­forts, and chil­dren who grow up watch­ing and learn­ing about th­ese birds may be­come en­vi­ron­men­tal heroes just like you.

MCT PHOTO

The pine war­bler sits on the perch of a rus­tic look­ing peanut but­ter log.

MCT PHOTO

The downy wood­pecker pays a visit to a peanut but­ter log for a fa­vorite feast.

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