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Emergency Foods for Winter Birds


A 5-K student of Webster Groves, Missouri, won a first place in the St. Louis Science Fair in 1999 with her " Scientific Observation, 'Breakfast for Birds'. "

Putting sample kitchen foods out in 6 food categories -- meat, (cooked ground beef, hot dogs, and peanut butter); vegetables, (carrots, broccoli and peas); fruit, (grapes, oranges, apples); dairy, (white cheese, yellow cheese, cottage cheese); grains, (bread, oats, rice crispies); fats or sweets, (butter, piece of chocolate and marshmallows) -- she tested the preferences twice a day of mockingbirds, bluejays, starlings, chickadees, and juncos. Cardinals and sparrows did not eat this food.

Ten pieces of a type from each food group were put out on a board on the floor of an open porch at 7 am each day and counted when one full group was gone. Then replaced, to be counted again later. For six days.

Birds do not like vegetables. -0-
Birds do not like solid sweets. -0-

But they loved the following in descending order:

1) Peanut butter, 2) cut up hot dogs, 3) whole-milk cottage cheese, 4) cut up grapes and apples, 5) Rice Crispies. They ate almost all of these. In general, meat-dairy-grains were the winners. They also ate a little butter. Bread, although handy, came in 9th.


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