March snow and dribbled suet

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We woke yesterday morning to find four inches of snow and a beautiful winter wonderland. This was the view from our dining room window.

KY backyard and snow

The cedar tree is this year’s annual Christmas tree for the birds. I’ve recently discovered a new way of using it as a bird feeder.

In winter I make suet cakes that I put in a suet cage. I’ve also found that melted suet can be dribbled on various surfaces to provide numerous feeding areas. I drip the suet on the cedar branches and have been pleased that it has attracted a variety of birds, including this northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos).

mockingbird in cedar treeI’m especially surprised at how suet in the cedar has attracted dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), who are usually ground feeders.

junco hyemalisYesterday I dribbled the suet on top of the snow. Instead of clinging to the branches, it solidified into small pieces. Some of the birds picked up the pieces and flew off to eat them elsewhere. And some, like this northern cardinal, (Cardinalis cardinalis) ate in the tree.

cardinalis cardinalis eating suet

This is the suet recipe I use. I imagine the cakes you buy could also be melted and spread on various surfaces.

Easy Suet Recipe

  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

Melt lard and peanut butter together. Add the cornmeal and flour. Mix well. Put in containers. Refrigerate or freeze.

We especially enjoy our birds in winter when there is very little going on in the backyard, and I like the added activity that the suet brings. How do you do to attract birds in winter?

10 thoughts on “March snow and dribbled suet”

  1. Question for you, Betty. A lot of the non-organic, less expensive peanut butters have sugar and other such ingredients in them. It seems to me that this would not be good for the birds and that it would be far preferable to go with one of the chunky organic peanut butters that have nothing in them but roasted peanuts. Do you know about this?

    1. Ann, I’ve read elsewhere that if food is good for human consumption it’s OK for the birds. I use organic peanut butter that is simply ground peanuts because that’s what I keep on hand for us. I have seen suet recipes that call for a little sugar and I’m guessing that could be a source of energy. I’m really not sure and would be glad for hear the ideas of others.

    1. Glad to have you on board, Pam. Thought of you last week when I posted 25 natives. Would be glad to know if that was helpful.

  2. Hi, Betty: The snow was absolutely beautiful falling – giant wet flakes – just like they make in Hollywood. I was up late and sat by the picture window to watch it. There are 3 rabbits in a contrived deadfall under some trees in my backyard and they were out there in the middle of the night romping around . . . I’ve made suet cakes and set them out for the birds, but the squirrels always seem to beat them to it . . . as usual, great photos! Thanks for posting them and the suet recipe.

    1. Kathy, sorry I missed out on the snow falling, but glad you saw it and shared the scene. It would have been great fun to watch the rabbits. Yes, the squirrels do like suet. They even get in the cedar tree now and then, but I don’t think they much care for the prickles. It seems to help to have suet in different places but they are ingenious and always hungry it seems. I also have one suet cage – a cage within a cage that works pretty well though starlings sometime monopolize it. Funny how “nature” doesn’t necessarily take our preferences into account, isn’t it?

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