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!
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!
~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
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!