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NEWS from OBS


New Large Bird Enclosure COMPLETED!

The Ohio Bird Sanctuary has completed a new flight enclosure to aid in the rehabilitation of injured eagles, large owls and peregrine falcons. The cage was built at the Orweiler Road location. Many local companies and organizations were involved in this construction project. Century Link has donated their crew and equipment to drill and the set the power poles needed to support the large structure. The holes were drilled August 8th and the poles set Monday the 12th. Ralph Roberts, Fanello Concrete, Blankenship excavation, J& B Acoustical, Mike Walker, Richland Lumber, Red White and Bluet Masonry are some of the many companies assisting. The majority of the work will be done by volunteers. Mansfield Rotary has pledged their support of "sweat equity" along with a contribution of $3,000. We are looking for additional skilled volunteer labor. Many Thanks go to:
Mark Fanello: Footers and escavating
Century Link: Pole setting
Mark Blust: masonry
Walker Brothers: (gravel hauling and steel plates)
Sherwin Williams: (stain discount)
Buckeye Horizon: (truck loan)
Mansfield Rotary Members
Tom Bishop: Project manager

In mid-November a Red-tailed hawk, Peregrine falcon and two Great-horned owls took up residence in the building.


Supporting Winter Birds - With notes from author Julie Zickefoose

Winter in Ohio! A time that humans hunker down in heated abodes and drink warm liquids of many different flavors. Meanwhile, the wild birds do whatever is necessary to stay warm, and procure food and drink while the temperature plummets, wind howls, and snow flies. Feeling guilty yet? Want to help the birds this winter? Good! Here are some suggestions to aid our flinty, feathered friends.


Food, water and shelter are necessary for a bird to survive any type of weather. But just as we love to have our "comfort foods" the birds could use a good, nutritious treat. Julie Zickafoose, noted author and naturalist, who lives in South East Ohio with her husband Bill Thompson III, editor of Birder's Digest magazine, has formulated a special treat she calls "Zickdough". Here are Julie's Facebook notes on how to make "Zickdough"


Zick Dough, Improved

Melt together in microwave until liquid: 1 cup lard, 1 cup peanut butter.

Combine separately: 2 cups quick oats, 2 cups chick starter, un-medicated (available at feed store),
1 cup yellow cornmeal, 1 cup flour.

Put dry ingredients in mixer and blend. Slowly pour in melted lard/PB mixture until a crumbly, lumpy consistency is attained. Store in peanut butter jars. Does not need refrigeration. Serve crumbled. This mixture is too crumbly to serve in a suet feeder. I recommend a plexiglas feeder with a dome you can lower to protect it from weather and starlings. In fair weather we serve it in a shallow dish, or simply put it loose on the deck railing.

You can, of course, enlarge the recipe. I make two double batches back-to-back with my KitchenAid mixer. As long as you have everything pulled out, you might as well make some to store. I use a kitchen scale instead of measuring cups to measure the melty ingredients; it's much easier to watch the scale and just add 8 oz of lard or PB into your bowl than to cram it into a cup measure. Of course you'll need a cup measure for the dry ingredients, but they're a snap to measure. If you haven't got a mixer, just mix by hand, as I did for 15 years...

This is a cold-weather food. Discontinue feeding when weather warms in spring as it is too rich and fatty to feed all summer long. Chick starter is the "improved" part of this recipe, and it helps make a more balanced diet, but please feed in moderation. The old recipe without chick starter caused gout in bluebirds that got hooked on it. For more information and photos, see:
Julie's Blog
If you would like to see how I make it (well, before I got my whoppin' persimmon-orange Kitchenaid mixer), here's a video that Bill took, surprising me in the kitchen one afternoon. Had I known he was going to do that I might have put on my best gown.
Making Zick Dough
It's an excellent food for insectivores in the dead of winter, and will definitely help pull your bluebirds and Carolina wrens through snow and ice storms. Attracts chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, jays, woodpeckers of all species, song, chipping, white-throated and field sparrows, towhees, cardinals, bluebirds, and Carolina wrens, to name some.


OBS thanks Julie Zickefoose for permission to reprint her Facebook notes on this birdy treat! Below we have listed a number of sites that have valuable information on how to care for your winter feathered friends of many species.

  • Bird Watcher's Digest
  • Cornell- Bird Notes
  • Wild Birds Unlimited


    As the season moves on we will continue to bring quality environmental opportunities to the North Central Ohio area. Check our Calendar of Events page frequently to see what is coming up next!

    Many of our events are photographed and posted at our Facebook page! Search for Ohio Bird Sanctuary on Facebook.

    Many thanks to all who support the Sanctuary by your visits, contributions, program referrals and gifts!