|This Northern Flicker absolutely delighted us with his appearance at the suet feeder.|
Today's post is for the birds. Literally. Instead of offering up a recipe to feed you and your family, here is one to help our feathered friends have an easier time surviving winter. When the weather turns cold and insects that are there for the taking during the summer are no longer available, the birds often struggle to find enough food. Supplementing their diet with suet will make them happy, healthy, and keep them warm during the winter months.
|As snowflakes begin to fall, a Carolina Wren surveys the scene.|
Buying commercial suet cakes is a fine idea, but if you want to experiment on your own, here is a fairly basic, easy recipe that the birds will love. This is also a great, hands-on project for the kids, and a way to teach them about nature and the importance of their part in helping to sustain it.
FRUIT & NUT SUET
8 ounces lard
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
3 pieces sandwich bread, crumbled
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup assorted fruits (raisins, craisins, dried cherries, dried berries, etc.)
1/2 cup assorted seeds
Melt lard with peanut butter in a large pan over low heat. When melted together, remove from heat and stir in flour, cornmeal, and sugar. Add apple, fruits, bread and seeds. Add more crumbled bread if the mixture is too liquid. You want to get the mixture to the point where the bread is absorbing all of the liquid and it becomes thick. Scoop the homemade wild bird suet into a large loaf pan. Refrigerate overnight. Slice as needed to place in your suet feeder while keeping the remaining suet refrigerated.
If you already use commercial suet, save the plastic container that it comes in and use this as a mold. It works perfectly and will fit quite nicely into your feeder. The birds will love you, and put on an active and colorful show all winter. This minimal amount of effort will reward you all season long.
This mixture attracts the following birds:
and, much to our delight, the Northern Flicker
|The very persistent Northern Flicker.|
|Feathers left behind.|