____ Wild birds are stuck outside -- in the ice, wind, rain, snow; long, freezing nights without sun; and without much of the natural shelter of vegetation.. Gone are the insects; fruit; berries; nectar and buds of summer and fall. Think of (or remember) yourself without electricity and groceries and reliable water, or even a shelter.
____ So, besides our human neighbors this winter, it is an important time to offer food to our small, feathered friends. Commercial wild bird food (and equipment) is available to you at many supermarkets, hardware or specialty bird feeding stores. HERE’S HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN LOW- COST SEED MIX:
SOME SIMPLE HOME RECIPES FOR BIRD TREATS
Before commercial feed was merchandised and became readily available, bird loving gardeners and housewives provided food for wildlife from their kitchens. For insect-eating birds such as chickadees, woodpeckers, nuthatches and others that winter over in our yards, high energy foods like peanut butter or suet (Beef fat) are long time staples. (And ,contrary to myth, birds will not choke on sticky peanut butter.) You can usually purchase plain beef suet at most supermarket meat departments. It can be used melted, or whole. Lard will do just as well.
HOW TO STUFF PINE CONES FOR HANGING
THAT WON’T COST YOU $15+ EACH:
__Stuff the openings between the scales of large pine cones with one of several mixes. Add a ______hanging wire and ribbon, and they won’t cost you $15 apiece at the boutique.
|Ingredients: Melted fat and add a mix of seed, raisons and ground nuts. Or, peanut butter, melted suet or lard, honey and birdseed. Or, melt some suet or lard; combine with peanut butter, corn meal or oatmeal, wild bird seed and pour the mixture over large, well-opened pine cones. You can be creative with your mix. Secure the base of each cone with wire and hang from a tree branch or bush.|
OTHER SIMPLE THINGS: Roll the mixtures above into balls; chill, and put into mesh bags ______ (like garlic) for hanging. Or pour into small pans and add chopped apples, cracked corn, ________ black oil sunflower seeds. Or spread on the side of a tree (away from the sun).
EVEN SIMPLER: Hang plastic mesh bags (onion or fruit bags) filled with fresh, uncooked _______ suet from the grocery store, but remember, suet can quickly become rancid in warm weather _____ Keep an eye on it if it gets warm
MANY WINTER BIRDS LOVE FRUIT! Sliced fresh fruit on a plate on the ground or on a platform feeder, may bring in robins, thrushes, bluebirds, mockingbirds, catbirds, tanager and orioles, if they’re in your vicinity.
SOME BIRDS LIKE JUNCOS, SPARROWS AND TOWHEES, BOBWHITES, QUAIL, AND GROUSE PREFER TO EAT ON THE GROUND. Ground feeding birds suffer most in ice and sleet storms. Don’t throw feed onto snow, but pack the snow flat or cover it with a rug. Keep the feeding area clean and near protective cover. These birds welcome a mix of seed and grain and cracked corn.
DON’T FORGET WATER
Bon Appetit, Mon Tweet!
Photograph Courtesy of Kingeter, a loving friend in Point Pleasant, New Jersey
The best of love to all,
Wild Birds For The 21st Century
____ Hulled peanuts (unsalted) and other broken nutmeats, raisins, egg shells (oven-dried) and grit are welcome additions. Pre-mix and dry store as much as you want for the short term. Packaged and labeled like home-made wine or cookies, 5- or 10-pound bags make great gifts for friends.
Pour one 25-pound bag of black-oil sunflower seed; one 10-pound bag of white proso millet, one 10-pound bag of cracked corn into a clean, waterproof, metal trash can with a tight fitting lid. (Keeps squirrels, rodents, and mold out.)_ Mix with a broom handle.