Your backyard avian visitors will devour this mock suet cake. It doesn’t actually contain suet; instead I use lard as the fat. Our feathered friends require more than just their customary diet for the winter. They require fresh water for bathing, not just to stay hydrated. It is important for them maintain clean feathers to insulate them from winter’s cold. We have an electrically heated birdbath that will be installed soon. Birds also require some sort of oil or fat to stay warm and well fed over the winter. I don’t remember where I found this recipe, but the birds go nuts for it. To the basic recipe, I will add whatever I think birds might enjoy: stale nuts (unsalted, of course), dried out raisins, outdated wheat germ, whatever the pantry serves up that might make the cake tasty and healthy. This time, I added the black thistle seeds.
You must be patient, for it may take several weeks for your feathered friends to discover such a treat. Once they discover the cakes, you will be making them weekly, so make plenty. Chickadees, nuthatches, and downy and hairy woodpeckers will become frequent diners, as well as house finches, sparrows, pine siskins, and other seedeaters.
I buy the cheapest, generic ingredients. You will find the lard in the baking aisle shelved
with the shortenings and cooking oils.
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups corn meal
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup lard
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
Optional: any bird feed mixes
Microwave lard and peanut butter until they are totally melted, stir, add dry ingredients, stir. Pat into a plastic container; press down firmly, cover and refrigerate until cake is hard. Cut, bag, and freeze. Hang them in trees around the yard, especially close to windows so that you take great close-up photos. I put the cakes in the wire suet holder. I have found the my backyard visitors will prefer the homemade cakes to the commercial seed cakes.
On a final note: While I used my good Tupperware today, I much prefer the Glad plastic storage just because if you slice the container while cutting the cakes, you can just throw away the container.