Bird Word: Leggo My Eggo

Bird Feeding: Mohney’s Waffle and Peanut Butter Advice Followed

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle

As the snow drifted down over Chehalis Sunday afternoon and the weatherman sent out a winter storm warning, I mentally wandered

A golden-crowned sparrow perches in a rhododendron bush, awaiting his turn at the bird feeder. These sociable birds are often seen with other ground-feeding birds, such as the white-crowned sparrow and dark-eyed junco. (Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle)

through my larder of supplies back at home in Cinebar.

My fur-clad beasts and I had enough supplies to last us — and an extra layer of winter’s ease (also known as excess fat). All we needed (wanted), were a few of the foods that would lend a little comfort in the upcoming days of snowbound isolation. Frozen pizza for me, a venison and sweet potato bag of bones for them.

I knew I didn’t have enough to feed my feathered friends for more than a week if we were hard hit by the snows, so I put a 25-pound bag of Chickadees Delight on my mental shopping list. It’s an easy favorite for all my bird feeder guests, from the jays to the pine siskins, a little something for everyone.

I remembered reading an old column of The Chronicle’s gone, but far-from-forgotten outdoors chronicler, Russ Mohney. In that Nov. 18, 2005, column, Mohney talked about an idea a friend of his had tried out, “a winter (bird) feeding trick that draws more desirable species than any other I’ve heard about.”

This feeding trick involved toasted waffles and peanut butter. A perfect combination of winter warmth giving calories and soul-satisfying tastes for birds and humans alike.

I knew I had to try it. For the bird’s sake. At least that’s the story I told myself as I tossed a couple of boxes of Eggo frozen waffles in my shopping cart alongside the cocoa and marshmallows.

Monday morning, the snow had already reached a depth of at least 3 inches and was coming down at a steady pace back at my Cinebar home. It was time to try the waffle trick.

“I put two peanut-butter-filled-waffles out Sunday morning to see how they worked. (Actually, I made four peanut-butter waffles, but they looked so good I ate two of them myself!) I must report the feeders outside my study were an absolute riot of activity for the 15 minutes it took a sudden horde of birds to consume them,” Mohney wrote.

I toasted four Eggo waffles and spread a light coating of peanut butter over the top of each and, while I had the same problem Russ had — only two of the four waffles made it to my suet feeder — I didn’t have quite the flurry of activity.

My birds are rather suspicious of anything new at the feeder area. Waffles, apparently, are no exception. I plan to try again each morning for the next three mornings — or at least until my supply of frozen waffles runs out.

And if I have to gain a few pounds in the name of science, I’m willing to make that sacrifice.

For the bird’s sake.

Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer who enjoys watching and photographing the wildlife in her own backyard in Cinebar. Contact her via e-mail at kz@tds.net.