Sunday, September 26, 2010

Winter Treats for the Birds:Peanut Butter/Lard Suet Cake



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the basic recipe, I will add whatever I think birds might enjoy: stale nuts (unsalted, of course), dried out raisins, outdated wheat germ, whatever the pantry serves up that might make the cake tasty and healthy.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. 

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos of dragonfly, birds and cobweb. Didn't I see ladybugs earlier?

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  2. Glad to find another Colorado blogger. I've had both the yellow and black swallowtail butterflies in my garden this year. Sadly, no caterpillars this year. Have taken them to school with parsley and watch them hatch! ♥♫

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  3. I just looked at your profile and saw that you are from Ault. That's where I grew up. My mom and brother still live on the farm. Small world! ♥♫

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  4. I found these butterflies in Texas. We have both here in colorado, but in Texas they just seemed more brilliant. If you have ash trees, you might try looking there for caterpillars. Nice "meet" you.

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  5. Your photos of butterflies and insects are very beautiful! Thanks for visiting my Irish gareden blog as well.

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  6. Ann,

    I'll have to try this recipe. One thing Meg will likely want to use organic ingredients for this. We have a dog treat recipe on our site too. Seeing all the butterfly and dragonfly comments I'll have to have a look, both my specialties.

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