Great Homemade Bird
This is pretty off-topic for
this website, but after feeding and enjoying birds for as long as I can
remember, I can tell you they love this stuff!
We started using this many years ago now, and one
of its advantages we've discovered is how well it fares in hot weather.
Much better than suet. A block of it won't last long enough to get
rancid like suet does, and with commercial blocks now made mostly of
seeds glued together with a bit of suet, these are much more attractive
to the birds.
I've never seen a "food block" that's attractive to
so many species, year-round. It's amazing how many of them really go after this
formula - Bluebirds included. My current list of birds that love it includes 20+ local species, and I'm sure I've missed a few.
Note: If you have bears or
raccoons, plan on bringing these indoors overnight as recommended in the
recipe. I'm not kidding - Bears love this stuff, too! They've
climbed right up onto our deck to get to it.
(By the way, I'm "cooking challenged", so if I can
make it, anyone can! )
Bird blocks, original recipe:
* 1 pound lard
* 16-20 oz. crunchy peanut butter
* 3/4-1 cup raisins
* 3/4-1 cup black oil sunflower or mixed birdseed
* 6 cups cornmeal
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
Melt lard in microwave. Pour into a really large mixing bowl, stir
in other ingredients in order above. Pour mix into cake pan, cool
and cut into blocks to fit your feeder. Freeze in zip-lock
Yields 6 blocks roughly 4" square and
1-1/2" thick from a 9x12 cake pan, and these fit perfectly
into our suet 'cages'.
Just be sure to bring your feeders inside overnight if you have
bears in the neighborhood, as we do. (They love it too!)
Update 3-23: I've simplified this recipe recently and
the birds still love it. No more sunflower seeds, raisins, or crunchy
peanut butter. This version's cheaper and faster, and our birds go
through 1-2 blocks / day during winter.
Bird blocks simplified:
* 1 pound / 1 pint lard
(Microwave 4 minutes - your time may vary; experiment)
* 20 oz. smooth peanut butter
(Microwave a Sams 40 oz jar 90 seconds, use half of it)
* 4 cups cornmeal (Sams or Amazon, 25 lb bag)
* 5 cups all-purpose flour (Sams or Amazon, 20 or 25 lb bag)
Mix well in a really large mixing bowl. Spoon mix into clear
plastic "clamshell" sandwich boxes, cool
and freeze. *Boxes are said to be disposable, but cut in half
I get many, many uses 1/2 of one. One of these will cleanly pop
out of its plastic mold while it's still frozen.
Yields 7 or 8 blocks about 4" square and
1" thick that fit perfectly into 4x4 suet "cages". I've
been making double batches of these every 10 days or so the last
two winters. We feed a LOT of birds.
Again, be sure to bring your feeders inside overnight if you're in bear
country as we are. (They love it too!) Hanging feeders from an
overhead electric fence supply wire works great to discourage
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Many Thanks! - Dave
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