Month: May 2009

Homemade Suet Time

Don’t The Birds Know There’s A Recession

Our backyard is a busy, and expensive, place.  All the birds coming to our feeders mean we are spending some serious money feeding them.  Don’t they know there’s a recession? 

We really enjoy all the feathered things, and we don’t want them to leave, but the outlay of cash is more than we were budgeting that’s for sure.  So, in order to save some money we finally broke down and started making our own suet.  The birds seem to like it so far.

The Recipe Please

There are a ton of possibilities for suet recipes.  People use real suet, beef tallow, bacon fat, or lard for the “base” and mix in all kinds of other stuff.  We wanted to make something that would survive the hot, humid weather here in Georgia without melting (although it is funny to see the birds slide down the pole right past the feeder because of the melted suet on it).  We found a recipe that is supposedly “no-melt”.  It’s going to get warm here this weekend so we’ll see if this “no-melt” recipe we made is truly no-melt.  Here it is:

  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups quick oatmeal
  • 2 cups plain yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Melt the lard and peanut butter in a pan over low heat.
  2. Add the rest of the stuff and mix well.
  3. Pour into a pan to cool down (or the containers from the store bought suet you have been using up to now) and put in the fridge to cool down.
  4. Cut to size and place in your favorite suet feeder.
  5. Watch the birds tear through it forcing you to make more 

Saving The Big Bucks

All the ingredients cost us about $11 (enough for two+ batches).  We should be able to get 10-12 feeders full of suet once we get through all of it.  That works out to about $1 a pop which is less than 50% of the $2.19 we were paying for each of the No-Melt Suet packs at our local pet supply store.  We won’t be retiring early because of the money we save, but a dollar here and there adds up over time.

What other suet recipes have you found that work well in hot weather?

Bath Time For Mr Cowbird

Our birdbath is only about 8 feet away from us when we sit on the deck.  The birds are getting fairly used to us being out on the deck and are starting to come to the birdbath more and more while we are sitting out there.  It’s fun to watch them land on the deck railing, hop down to the birdbath, and then take a drink or a bath before flying off.

Last weekend we were sitting out on the deck eating some dinner and watching all the wildlife activity in our yard.  Birds were coming and going from the birdbath but were a little skittish.  They’d land, chirp a few times, and then fly off without really using the birdbath.  That was until our local pair of Cowbirds showed up.  The male boldly landed on the deck rail and immediately plopped into the birdbath.

After sitting in the water for a few seconds, as if he was testing it, he hopped up on the edge of the birdbath.

He looked over at us very quickly then hopped back into the water.  For the next minute or so he was happily splashing away.

Water was flying all over the place. He wasn’t holding back.  There was no way he wasn’t going to get clean!

He finally stopped and flew off after splashing all the water out of the birdbath .
We like our birdbath.

We Caught The Thief

Yesterday Pam and I came home from work to find the little “stick on” window feeder that is attached to our deck door by suction cups hanging by one suction cup about to fall off.  We had no idea how that happened.  In addition the birds had been eating a lot of seed from the feeder, or so we thought.

Well, today, when I came home for lunch, I glanced over to the window and saw something that really caught my attention.  I ran upstairs and grabbed the camera and caught the little thief red handed, or should I say “red pawed” 

This squirrel was wedged in the feeder happily eating away at all the seed!  I don’t know how he got up there.  The feeder is about 4 feet off the deck and there’s no “launching pads” nearby.  As I moved closer to the window he finally saw me, jumped down, and scampered away.  I guess we need to put the feeder a little higher on the window, huh.

Still Here Just Distracted

Wow, time flies when you’re busy and focused on other stuff.

We’re Still Here

Pam and I are still alive, we’ve just been distracted/focused on other stuff the last couple of months.  Pam has been crazy at work, as have I, plus I’m getting into the meat of the cycling season.  In addition, since late March I’ve been focusing, when I can, on a new blog called Video Beer Reviews that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  I’ve been a lover of quality beer for 20+ years and now I am reviewing beers and posting the videos on the blog.  So, if you like beer and want to see somebody babble on about why they like or dislike a beer feel free to go over there and subscribe.  How does beer relate to birds you ask?  Well we spend a lot of time on the deck enjoying beer and watching the birds so there you go 

Birds We’ve Seen And Missed

In the last month or two we’ve seen a few new birds in our yard including Brown Headed Cowbirds, Magnolia Warblers, Purple Finches (pretty sure although they are “rare” in Georgia), Red Headed Woodpeckers (very cool bird!), Cedar Waxwings, and Blue Jays.  We’ve also noted the return of the Ruby Throated Hummingbird to the sugar water feeder on our deck.  The Goldfinches have come back as well. I think we’ve missed most of the Spring Migration.  We were planning on getting out to bird with a group this Spring, especially for Warblers, but it’s May and most of them are gone.  We’ll catch them in the Fall and next Spring I guess.  Both our life lists are a little bigger than before.

Looking Ahead And Another Mystery Bird

We’re hoping to get back in the swing of birding more often and posting about our experiences.  I’m also going to try to get some more pictures to post as well, including one of another “mystery” bird that we just saw yesterday.  It was mostly brown, songbird sized, and had a thin white “crown” and white dots on the wing.  The beak is short and stubby and might be slightly hooked at the end.  It was hanging out at our feeders.  We’ve looked through our field guides but can’t find anything close.  We’ll keep trying and hopefully we will figure it out.  If anyone has any ideas please let us know.

Anyway, I’ll try to be a bit more regular in posting.  We really appreciate those of you that visit the site on a regular basis.  Thank You!!!