Winter is Here

It’s winter and that means it is time to feed the birds.

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A Dark-eyed Junco was one of the first to find the bird seed atop our snowman.

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Our homemade suet cakes and feeders.

There are a lot of recipes for homemade suet.  I found the following recipe to be the quickest and easiest to make:

Ingredients:

  • One part lard at room temperature to two parts bird seed
  • Add raisins, peanuts or grated cheese (optional)

Method:

Combine lard and bird seed in a large bowl with a spoon or “squish it all together with your hands”.  Pack the seed mixture into a container.  We used one of several: the plastic cups and square shallow plastic container lined with wax paper as pictured above.  The square shape suet cake simply slips into our square cage suet feeder.  The plastic cup design was found at The Nurture Store: Creative Kids Learning.

Place the suet cakes in the freezer for several hours.  Our’s took about 24 hours to freeze solid.  Once frozen solid, the suet cakes are ready to hang.

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Homemade suet feeder ready to hang.

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Two Starlings squawk over the suet feeder while a Dark-eyed junco waits patiently.

I was not expecting Starlings to invade; unfortunately, they have invaded. They are very aggressive so much so the squirrels and blue jays now keep their distance from our feeders.

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The aggressive Starlings seem to be driving our neighborhood song birds away from our feeders. Notice the suet cage. The suet cake was devoured by the end of the day.

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A Red-bellied woodpecker seems to be able to hold his own at the feeders as well as a couple of House Sparrows.

Feeding birds through the winter has been a family activity for over eighteen years. It started as a homeschool project where we could observe wildlife first-hand: bird identification, social behavior (pecking order),  physical characteristics of of each bird and their food choices and so much more. Not to mention, a great opportunity to photograph wildlife in our back yard!  We even got to the point where each of our children were able to hand-feed birds! That said, I am going to look for our pictures of that awesome time where our children hand fed birds to share with you!

Pick up a bird feeder or two, bird seed and, of course, your camera and enjoy! Below are a few resources to get you started:

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