One of my Birding New Year’s Resolutions this year is to learn to make a new bird food, like suet or hummingbird nectar. Since I already know how to make nectar, I decided to give the suet a try. And, I have to admit, I have a new appreciation for the suet artisans who take the craft to heart. Bravo to you!
Because I live up in the mountains, going into town for supplies is not always convenient. So I decided to see if I could find a recipe that didn’t require lard. I had plenty of peanut butter and bird seed on hand and I wanted to see what could work with just those two ingredients. I found a few suggestions and here’s what I did:
- I melted the contents of a 16 oz. jar of peanut butter in the microwave, in a microwave-safe bowl and covered with a paper napkin, on high for about a minute.
- I poured 1 ½ cups of wild bird seed into the bowl, including black oil sunflower seed (a bird favorite!)
- After mixing the bird seed into the peanut butter, I spooned the mixture into silicon molds; I had a rosette mold that I had purchased from Amazon and I thought I’d use that to create rose-shaped treats for some added interest. J
- I covered the filled molds with saran wrap and placed them in the freezer overnight.
It was really that easy, and here’s what I learned:
- Peanut butter alone doesn’t harden well enough to hang the treat with string or ribbon (as I had hoped); as a result, I placed two rosettes in a wire suet cage, which worked really well but defeated the purpose of the decorative rosettes.
- Peanut butter alone will melt in warm weather, so this project really only works when it’s cold outside, (below 40 degrees F.)
- I placed a few of the rosettes on a rock out back and the birds STILL loved the treat; they didn’t care if it was hanging from a tree or laying on a rock.
- My treats attracted many birds, including chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, Steller’s Jays, and a Northern Flicker!
All in all, the project was a lot of fun! And next time, I’m going to try adding lard to the mixture!