Of course the best bird-feeder is what nature provides: nuts, seeds and fruit from native trees, shrubs and wildflowers (and native insects)…
But – this post is all about creating bird-feeders. I’ve been making my own suet for years and I am sure the birds prefer my homemade version over a purchased suet cake… with a little imagination you can turn almost anything into a bird feeder, old cups, saucers and pots, tins and food tubs, the cardboard holder from a loo roll, orange and lemon skins, pumpkin shells, apples, pine cones, soap dishes an old crust smeared with peanut butter and birdseed is always welcome. Seed cakes made in cookie cutters are pretty you can make all sorts of shapes, hearts, stars etc just add a bit of ribbon or twine to hang them. You can even use mesh produce bags to make simple suet feeders for your neighbourhood birds.
Here’s my suet recipe and a few others that you can adapt to fit the container you are using.
2 cups lard/fat
2 cups chunky peanut butter
Melt the lard and peanut butter together, then add:
6 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
8 cups birdseed any other delights you have in your larder that the bird will enjoy, dried fruit, nuts, cheese etc
Cookie Cutter Recipe
envelope (about 2 and a half teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1. Mix the flour, water, corn syrup and gelatin together to form a smooth paste. Slowly add the birdseed and stir until it is all fully coated.
2. Coat the cookie cutters with a little oil and place them on a paper-lined pan. Spoon the mixture into the cookie cutters, pressing it down firmly with the back on the spoon to pack the mixture into the cookie cutters as tight as possible. Make the ornaments in any shape you like – hearts, stars, animals.
3. Cut the straws into three-inch segments and press the straw into the top quarter of the birdseed-filled cookie cutter. Make sure the hole goes all the way through the mixture. Leave the straw in the ornament and allow to dry for three to four hours.
4. Once the birdseed ornaments have dried, take out the straw and carefully remove the ornaments from the cookie cutters. Allow to harden overnight.
2 cups Birdseed
2/3 cup Water
2 Packets Unflavored Gelatin
8 small screws ,Twine
1. Bring Water to a boil, add gelatin, and stir until completely dissolved.
2. Mix the birdseed into this mixture.
3. Cut the apples in half lengthwise and hollow out the insides with a spoon or knife.
4. Fill each apple with bird seed mixture, set on a sheet pan, and put in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until firm.