Feed The Birds

Don’t forget to feed our little feathered friends this winter. Especially if you live in an area that is snow covered.
Birds need a little help this time of year! And especially this snowy winter…

Because food is scarce and not so available in the winter, feeding birds in cold or snowy areas can be essential for birds health and life.
Here are some tips and tidbits for feeding and enjoying birds in the winter:
*High energy suet (recipe follows) is probably one of the best food sources you can offer birds in the winter
*Platform feeders provide generous area to scatter seed for the birds
*A large terracotta plate works great as a bird feeder.
*During the winter also feed birds with chopped nuts, dried and fresh fruit, cracked corn and even bakery items such as small pieces of muffins
*Bake seed in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes to sterilize seed and keep it from germinating and sprouting in your yard or garden in the spring. Cool and put out for birds.
*Keep bird feeders clean, even in the winter. When seed gets wet or soggy replace it with fresh seed.
* Once you begin to feed the birds, especially in winter, keep a careful eye on your feeder. Keep it full. It will empty quickly.
*Be patient! Give the birds time to find you!
* A fresh water source for birds will double the amount of birds you attract.
* Have a pair of binoculars and your camera on hand. For your efforts you will be rewarded with hours of avian antics!
StoneGable Suet
Suet is a vital form of energy for birds in the winter. Suet is the hard fat (or the fat and skin) of beef, ground up with seed and other ingredients. It is often sold commercially in cakes or cages. My grocer’s sells it in balls. My butcher gave me this recipe for making economical suet for my backyard visitors this winter.
This is a super fun project for little hands!
Ingredients:
~large chunk of “hard” fat (skin or skin and fat layer) I asked the butcher at my grocer’s
1  3/4 pounds of beef hard fat cost 90 cents
~bird seed
Grind up hard fat on the course setting of a grinder, or grate it using a hand held grater.

I used my kitchen aid mixer with the grinder attachment.

In a bowl, mix fat and a little seed.
Form into a ball. Lightly compress. Do NOT squeeze the balls into hard lumps. I have a large rimmed baking sheet of sterilized seed (see tips above) ready for the suet balls.

Roll in more seed.
Put suet in a shallow container, or hanging a mesh bag.

What a handsome fella!

Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for the great information on making suet balls. Knew there had to be a good way to make them. We saw golden finches at our feeder this morning. Love to watch them from our kitchen window!

  2. says

    I love feeding the birds in the winter and lately, they have been going through tons of seed! The only problem is when the squirrels figure out how to get to the feeders. Do you have a problem with squirrels on your platform feeders?

    I’m going to try making some suet!

  3. says

    Now honest to goodness I was just getting ready to look up home made suet on the internet and poof! your post shows up on my sidebar~ We also just got done watching Mary Poppins last week, so the feed the birds song is still in my mind. Needless to say I am a happ y camper! I can’t wait to try it! I’m hoping to shape it into a heart and hang it with some red ribbon for the month of February. I’ll have to send you a pic of the finished product. Thanks for the post!
    Love Carissa

  4. says

    The suet balls are a great idea. We keep our feeder full and so enjoy all the little yellow finches in the winter and the Blue Jays and Cardinals when we change out the feed. I think I’ll buy another feeder. Thanks for sharing this. And God bless you for feeding the poor little hungry birds.~Ames

  5. says

    Does anyone know if the sterilized seed makes it less nutritious for the birds? Just curious….we stopped feeding the birds due to all the wild things that began sprouting in the yard. So I really like this idea as I LOVED having them around (except for the poop). Now I can start feeing them again with this idea of sterilizing the seed. Thanks Yvonne.

  6. says

    YOu even make your own suet!!!!!!! Girl, you are something! WE feed the birds, Joe lOVES watching them out his office window do he has postioned 2 feeders where he can see them from that vantage point. They are busy little creatures, flying from the feeders to a bush to eat, back again over and over!!!! So sweet. Our squirrels are VERY clever so we put up a feeder just for them and they seems to (mostly) stay on it. Another beautiful post!!!! XO, Pinky PS, I AM getting alot done today….more Christmas and a pot of chili has been simmering all day, the house smells SO good!!!!!

  7. says

    I’ve made suet refills for my feeder using lard, but this is an even better idea. Too bad my butcher shop went belly up :(.

    I put a feeder in a new location the other day and it only took my feathered friends 2 days to find it. Yesterday I watched 4 different species visit over the course of a couple hours. Can’t wait to see what visits in a week!

    :)
    ButterYum

  8. says

    We have feeders and keep them filled year round! It’s so much fun to see all the birds we have in Florida! I took my binoculars to the park today and after I walked…I did some bird watching! ♥

  9. says

    My husband and I were just saying that we should put out some bird feeders! And I never even thought about making my own suet, what a great idea!

    Your photos are all wonderful, and that last bird picture is just beautiful!

    Kat :)

  10. says

    Yvonne, I’m sending the suet ball recipe to my daughter, who is now in the Texas hill country, as she loves bird feeders. I never knew about suet for birds. xx’s

  11. says

    Yvonne,
    Adored all the photos, but especially the little fella with his breast stuck out! Too cute!

    “Mr. Ed” keeps the bird feeders filled for Maurice and I to enjoy bird ( and squirrel) watching. I was deeply moved by two separate observations this past week. FIRST: The male cardinal on the bird feeder watching a small bird on the ground, chose a huge sunflower seed, broke it between his beak and deliberately let it drop to the ground where the smaller bird quickly retrived it. Amazingly communion like! SECOND: our squirrel, after eating nearly non~stop seated himself on a branch and took a bite of the snow. We are near record arid conditions for this Winter.

    The importance of food and water for our feathered friends and widlife are vital. Yet, as I watched, the scriptures flooded my being. Thank you for this wonderful reminder!
    Fondly,
    Pat

  12. says

    Thanks for doing this topic! Just not enough people feed birds, or do so once in a while only. I will use your idea of netting for lard squares I put out. Nice photos, too!

    Pat

  13. says

    I somehow missed this post. So glad I scrolled down a bit in my updates. Thank you for this. I adore birds. We feed them, and cherish them in our garden. They’re welcome visitors. Here and there I put out bird feeders, we have a pretty bird bath, and I’ve seen blue jays come and steal bits of my dog’s food even. She doesn’t mind:) We’ve had lots of rain lately and they’ll come down in the yard tugging at worms. Bird seed is so inexpensive even if you’re on the tightest budget you can make sure your little friends are fed. Thanks again, xoxo tami

  14. says

    We got a new feeder this year…quite colorful. At first the birds ignored it and we thought we’d have to try a different one, but they have now discovered it and seem happy. This year it is more important than ever as the temps are so cold and the snow won’t go away!

  15. says

    Thanks for the tip. Yvonne, about baking the seed to keep it from sprouting. Once spring comes I have all kinds of interesting things coming up under the tree where the bird feeder is.

  16. says

    What a great idea, Yvonne! I just bought some suet at Walmart, but I would much rather make it. We have been trying to keep everybody fed here, as our birdies in Dallas are not accustomed to the 20-degree nights we have been having. We have Carolina chickadees, nuthatches, 2 cardinal couples, dozens of mourning doves and countless sweet little sparrows counting on us to feed them now! It’s such a joy. Thank you for a great tip!
    Cheers, Andrea

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