The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Some Bird Recipes for Your Feathered Friends

 

Bird Recipes for Your Feathered Friends

Most people put out a bird seed mix, which birds do appreciate. However, if you really want to impress your avian friends, here are a few recipes we recommend:

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WHAT IS SUET?

Suet is essentially a solidified mix of fats, which birds eat to stay warm. Particularly in winter, suet is a valuable bird food.

  • You can use almost any seed or grain, mixed with beef fat, lard, or natural peanut butter. A basic suet combines equal parts of beef fat and assorted birdseed.
  • Put it in a tuna or cat food can to chill (or freeze) until it’s hard enough to hold its shape, then release it into a wire suet cage or sturdy mesh bag.
  • For a fancier suet, add natural peanut butter to the mix. You can also bind cornmeal or oatmeal with natural peanut butter and spread it into holes drilled in a post or log.
  • Birds also like dried fruits, so consider adding raisins, currants, apricots, or citron.

SUET CAKE RECIPE

  • 2 parts melted fat (beef fat or lard)
  • 2 parts yellow cornmeal
  • 1 part natural peanut butter

Mix all ingredients together and cook for a few minutes. Pour into small containers (tuna fish cans are good), and refrigerate or freeze until needed. Mixture can also be stuffed into 1-inch holes drilled in small logs to hang from trees. The recipe can be made all year long as long as you accumulate fat. Fasten containers securely to trees or feeders.

Note: Suet should be used only in very cold weather so that it does not melt and become rancid. If you live in a warm climate, we do not recommend using homemade suet because it will spoil too quickly. In this case, it is safer to purchase commercial suet cakes (which are treated and won’t spoil).

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WOODPECKER PUDDING

Here is a recipe for the birds!

  • 8 pounds suet
  • 2 pounds peanut butter
  • 8-ounce bottle corn syrup
  • 2 pounds rolled oats

Melt the suet in a canning kettle or other large container, pouring the melted fat into another kettle as it cooks down. While the fat is still hot, add the peanut butter, corn syrup, and oats, stirring constantly until mixture is well blended. Put the pudding into old soup cans to cool and harden, and store in a cool place. To use, warm the can until the pudding is soft enough to handle. Drill a number of 1 ½ inch holes in a 4 inch diameter birch log (leave the bark intact to provide good toeholds for the birds), spread the pudding into the holes, and hang the log outdoors where it is accessible to the birds.

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JUNCO CORNBREAD

Try this bird food recipe—just place in mesh bags and hang outdoors!

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup fat (meaning drippings or lard)
  • 3 cups water

Mix all the ingredients together and bake in a deep pan at 375ºF for 30 to 35 minutes. Reduce heat if bread looks as if it is forming a hard crust. May be doubled or halved.

 

SOURCE: The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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