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Julie Craves: It’s fine to give peanut butter to birds

Rose-breasted Grosbeak & Downy Woodpecker
Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Downy Woodpecker, Hudson Valley, New York. Photo by Michael Travis.

In the column “Since You Asked” in every issue of BirdWatching, Contributing Editor Julie Craves answers readers’ questions about birds and bird behavior. Here is a question from our October 2016 issue:

I read that you shouldn’t feed peanut butter to birds. Is it true? – Ruth Solon, Loudonville, Ohio

It’s perfectly fine to feed peanut butter. It is high in fat, protein, and calories, all of which make it a worthwhile addition to the menu. I recommend mixing it with plain cornmeal to make it less sticky and easier to work with. Try one part peanut butter with four or five parts cornmeal to make a stiff dough. You can also add oats, raisins, or dried mealworms. The dough can then be shaped into portions that will fit in suet feeders or logs, or just placed in feeding trays. – Julie Craves

About Julie Craves

Julie-Craves-120Julie is supervisor of avian research at the Rouge River Bird Observatory at the University of Michigan Dearborn and a research associate at the university’s Environmental Interpretive Center. She writes about her research on the blog Net Results, and she maintains the website Coffee & Conservation, a thorough resource on where coffee comes from and its impact on wild birds.

Read other questions that Julie has answered in “Since You Asked.”

If you have a question about birds for Julie, send it to [email protected] or visit our Contact page.

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