Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Feeding the Birds

Yikes! Been a tiny bit since I've stopped in and said "Hello!" to ye ol blog. "Hello!"

Since the weather has gotten colder and the leaves have fallen, I like to start feeding the wild birds. I make a suet cake that's really inexpensive and gives the birds some high calorie/fat that they need to keep warm in the coming winter months. I'd like to share it with you in case you'd like to try it. Be warned though. They attract a lot of birds and they can go through it pretty quick. Especially when a flock of Starlings come around, as they can mow it down in 2.3 seconds. (I don't like those bird, they're bullies and I shew them away when I see them.) But even without the starlings you can go through them pretty quick. The suet cakes I make are super easy and made with ingredients you probably have in your pantry. So it's fun especially if you have little kiddies that like wildlife.
I actually don't use suet which is rendered beef fat you can get at the butcher. I use either lard or vegetable shortening. Here's the ingredients I used this time.

3/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard
rounded 3/4 cup of chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 cup ground corn meal (no additives just ground corn)
1 1/2 cup quick cook oatmeal
1 cup (about) of sunflower seeds.
a handful of raisins if you want.
containers to put the suet in to solidify
string if your not using cages specifically made for suet
(I purchase most of these ingredients in the bulk department at the grocery store. It keeps the cost way down. I also purchase the cheaper peanut butter. The birdies don't care. ;0) )

Melt the peanut butter and shortening in a sauce pan until it's completely melted. Takes about a minute or so. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the goodies.
After all the ingredients are mixed up I put them in containers lined with foil and pop them in the freezer.
The containers I use will make a cake that will fit the little cages that I purchased for this purpose. If your not wanting to put them in the cages make sure and put yarn in them before you freeze so you can hang them. I've used muffin tins as well! The freezer works the best as they can tend to crumble and they don't have to be completely frozen but good and solid. Make sure and use foil. It really helps keep them together when you pop them out of the container.

As I walked into the house after placing the cakes in the feeders I had about 15 Juncos and Chickadees waiting for their treat.