General comments suet, suet mixes and feeding them to wild birds.
The simplest way to feed birds is to throw whateever you have available on the ground. That may be the best method for attracting and feeding Quail, Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, and other ground birds, but it is not the best way to get expensive thistle seed to Gold finches or meal worms to Carolina Wrens. A suitable feeder can present expensive foods to your little birds and out of the reach of Starlings and Squirrels. Most of these ideas came from visitors to this site. See below.
bird230 - General comments about Bird Feeders.
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From Sue Thuener, Mohawk, NY, (Central NY), Zone 4a-5a, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fabulous new recipe!! Birds go wild over it!!
1 small jar of commercial mince-meat
5 tablespoons of chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
enough mixed birdseed to hold it all together
pat into pie-tins or whatever
I found this recipe in Dec/Jan99 copy of Birds & Blooms & it's proven to be big hit.
1 cup cornmeal
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
1/2 c. flour
1 c. birdseed (I'd try more seed next time)
In a microwave safe bowl combine all but birdseed & nuke on high for 3-5 (4 min worked well) After warmed, add birdseed, let cool & press into an appropriate size container about the dimensions of a suet feed. Stick in the frig and when hard enough put in a suet feeder . This was an immediate hit w/the juncos, chestnut-backed chickadees, stellar jays & a squirrel. ----------------------------------------------
Suet Recipe (this is my own)
1 pound lard
2 cups crunchy peanut butter
4 cups cornmeal (I use real cornmeal, not cornmeal flour
4 cups oatmeal ( old fashioned kind)
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 jar Crushed Red Pepper (omit if you have no squirrels to repel)
6 cups of Black Oil Sunflower seed
(some people add raisins also but they are expensive)
Melt lard and peanut butter in a large dutch oven type container (you will need the room), then I add the sugar and the jar of Crushed Red Pepper (buy it at the $1.00 store) so that the sugar melts and the hot pepper is distributed throughout the mixture. (if squirrels aren't a problem you can delete the hot pepper) Stir in all the other ingredients. I add the sunflower seeds last. If it is too crumbley I add just enough water to make it stick together. I put it in the commercial plastic trays that I have saved and store in the freezer until I am ready to use it. I get 12-14 trays per batch and if there is any out in my suet feeders the birds won't touch the commercial stuff until there is nothing left of the homemade. Have fun, and enjoy the birds.
Hi Jack, One thing that I think might be important to your discussion is to point out that birdfeeding stations do not have to be store bought or costly. Many birdfeeders(people) are retired, handicaped or otherwise on a fixed income. I have only one store bought bird feeder. I have 10 home made feeders. None of which cost anything to build. They were made from scrap lumber from housing sites that were under construction. I used simple tools like a hand saw, hammer and screw driver. If some of your discussion group have mobility problems, friends or neighbors could be asked to look for lumber. My favorite material to use on birdfeeders is 1x12 boards that are used to make shelves. Just make sure it is real wood not particle board or the like. Another good material is old wooden fence boards. Wooden crates are another source of good material. I have used all of these sources and have had great success with the birds accepting them. This winter I am feeding about 500 birds daily. Most of the birds are Goldfinches, House Finches, Native Sparrows like White Crowned, White Throated, Harris's, Vesper, Savanah, Chipping, and Field, Juncos, Towhees, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Red Bellied and Golden Fronted Woodpeckers, Robins, and 4 kinds of Doves. Lesser numbers include Pine Siskins, Pine Warblers, Orange Crowned Warblers, Mockingbirds, Yellow Rumped Warblers and others. I feed only Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. I do not have a problem with House Sparrows, Starlings or Black birds. Keep it simple and cheap. Allen Bastrop Co,Tx. Wildscape #1071
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