Thursday, February 10, 2005

Recipes for Backyard Birds

Winter is back after a few days of 60 degree weather. We now have 3 inches of snow and it feels cold. We made some suet for the hungry birds. My kids enjoy making the pine cone feeders. It is a bit messy but they have fun doing it and enjoy watching the birds eat the food that they made for them.

Peanut Butter-Suet Mixture
From Ortho's Guide to The Birds Around Us

The peanut butter adds protein and the cornmeal adds carbohydrate to this easy-to-make offering. The mixture can stay fairly hard in warm weather.

2 cups suet--I used Lard purchased from the grocery store
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups finely cracked corn, millet, or other small seed--I used shelled and unshelled peanuts

Melt the suet in a saucepan--I melted the lard in the microwave 30 seconds at a time
Add the peanut butter, stirring until melted and well blended.
Add the the cornmeal and the seeds or nuts and blend well.
Pour into forms or suet feeders and cool until hardened. I placed the mixture into muffin tins. After removing from the pans, I wrapped them in pieces of mess from sacks that oranges come in.

Simple Pine Cone Mixture
Pine cones are an attractive way to offer soft food to birds
The kids love to spread the mixture onto the pinecones.

1 cup suet
1 cup peanut butter
3 1/2 cups cornmeal or ground dog biscuits

Melt the suet. Add the peanut butter, stirring until well blended.
Add the cornmeal to the mixture and blend into a dough. Pack the dough into the crevices of large pine cones.

Winter Bird Pudding
2 quarts water
1 cup margarine
1 cup peanut butter
4 cups cereal (cornmeal, rolled oats)
Chopped fruit(raisins, dates, apples)
Sunflower seeds or bird seed

In large pot, bring water and margarine to boiling. Slowly and cereals and cook, stirring constantly until mixture is fully cooked and thick. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and desired amount of fruit, nuts, and seeds. Cool and place in containers or pack in pine cones. Hang in trees. Use food within 3 5o 4 months.

Although you can buy suet, homemade suet is cheaper to make and will attract more birds. You can purchase beef fat trimmings for about .15 a pound at most grocery stores from the butcher.

Cut uncooked meat fat into cubes or small pieces. Place fat into a large pot. Heat the fat over low heat until fat is melted, stirring occasionally. Carefully pour the hot fat through a strainer into a bowl. Cool slightly. If desired, mix in peanut butter, raisins, nuts, craisins, oatmeal, cornmeal, or bird seed. Pour cooled fat into containers and place in the freezer until ready to use.

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