With days getting shorter and cooler, we often lament the coming of winter. When we move indoors it seems like we miss out on some of the creatures in the natural world. But, you can have birds in your yard all winter long by spreading out seeds and suet to attract them. Here’s Shiela Fuller’s recipe for HOMEMADE SUET:
HOMEMADE SUET for bird feeding
Feeding winter birds is a rewarding winter activity for adults and children. The general agreement is if you provide winter foods, you should also provide a water source and hiding places for protection from predators. This means, place your feeder near trees or bushes that give quick cover.
There are many different varieties of bird species to see right outside your window. Common seed eating varieties are the blue jay, tufted titmouse, and black capped chickadee. If you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of an Eastern towhee or yellow-rumped warbler passing through on migration. The insect eating winter birds such as the downy woodpecker, the red-bellied woodpecker, and the nuthatch especially enjoy suet.
Making your own healthy version of bird suet is so easy to do.
Gather the ingredients:
1. bacon fat (the leftover liquid fat after you’ve cooked it)-throughout the year collect the leftover fat in a jar and keep in your fridge.
2. rolled oats
3. peanut butter
4. dried fruits , nuts, and/or seeds
5. commercial bird seed
Combine one part bacon fat and peanut butter and melt in a saucepan. Add the additional ingredients to make a thick concoction.
Cool and pour into an empty box that give will your suet shape. A half gallon milk or juice carton is perfect for this. Place in freezer. When solid, peel back the carton and slice the cake into ONE INCH THICK pieces that you can insert into your suet feeder or hang from a wire basket.
Keep the remaining suet in the freezer until needed. Since this has no artificial preservatives, recommended use is at 38* F or colder.
It won’t be long before the birds will make your backyard their home.
Shiela Fuller has been a Cornell University Project Feeder Watch participant for many years and an avid birder since 1988. Currently, she enjoys writing picture books, yoga, chicken raising, wildlife photography, and is the legacy keeper for her family.