This is for the Birds!

I see some unusual birds in our backyard from time to time.  Probably because we have a brook running through the property .  The birds follow the brook looking for small fish, and insects.  One day I saw a Great Blue Heron and he had an encounter with a squirrel.  The squirrel was startled by the hugh bird, ran quickly up the nearest tree and from a safe distance above the bird’s head, scolded and scolded.  I watched that scenario from inside the house laughing all the while.  Another day I had a flock of five wild turkeys, one Tom and four hens and he was so funny  to watch, strutting his stuff, opening his fan-tail and putting on a show for the ladies.

I like to let my flower garden go to seed because the seeds provide food for the birds, but we also put up bird feeders and suet blocks to encourage the birds and provide food and energy as they fly south for the winter.  Some winter birds remain, like cardinals and jays, so we have activity in our yard all year long

.  Some of those birds are ravenous feeders so keeping the feeders full can be an expensive commitment.  That’s why I like to make my own suet, so this blog post could be retitled Home Cooking for your Backyard Birds because the recipes it contains are for suet.

Suet technically refers to animal fat renderings, which most store-bought products contain.  But the term has been expanded to mean anything with a fatty or doughy base that you put out for  your feathered friends.

Courtesy of "Birds and Blooms"

Courtesy of “Birds and Blooms”

RECIPE FOR SUET #1

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup lard (available from the butcher)
  • 1 cup raisins

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients.  Then add the water and mix.  Put peanut butter and lard in a small bowl and microwave for 2 minutes.  Add to the cornmeal mixture along with the raisins.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.   This is good to spread in/on pinecones and hang from a tree limb.  Or you can freeze it, then cut into blocks to put in a suet feeder.

An employee at Wild Birds Unlimited store gave out the following recipe to customers encouraging them to make their own bird food to be most beneficial to the birds.  The best foods are heavy on the fat and lower in sugar and grains.  Here’s the recipe she gave out:

RECIPE FOR SUET  #2

  • 2 cups shelled, unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2-3 tablespoons cornmeal

Process peanuts in a food processor until they’re the consistency of peanut butter.
Then add the raisins and process for another minute.  Add the cornmeal and process again.  Press this mixture into a mold of your choice.   This recipe will have the greatest nutritional value for your feathered friends.

SOURCE:  Birds and Blooms Magazine

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