DIY Suet/Seed Feeders for our Feathered Friends
By BJ Hansell, Master Gardener
As I write this, it’s nearly Halloween. Outside there is a flurry of activity. A multitude of birds including blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers (both hairy & downy), house and gold finches, juncos, and my absolute favorites - chickadees, are flitting about. They voraciously attack and consume seeds and nuts in preparation for the rapidly approaching winter. Read this article to see how you and the child in your life can help our feathered friends.
I have quite a variety of seeds, nuts, and suet feeders. But in December the kids are getting restless for something to do. The ever popular “I’m bored,” resonates through the house. I’m eager to have them take a break from screen time.
How about crafting homemade bird feeders? There are several hands-on options for nearly any age to show their creativity. The projects tend to be a bit messy. But hey, when you’re a kid messy is GOOD. While we work on the feeders, we can discuss:
o the different birds that hang out in the yard,
o how to identify them
o what they prefer to eat
o where they sleep & seek shelter from the weather
o Males & Females look the same; a small gray bird with a black cap and throat patch. Tan sides & belly; white chest; small white wing marks.
o Small Pointy beak
o Seeds black oil sunflower, safflower; peanuts; mealworms
o Cavity dweller, found in forests, woodlots, backyard nest box
The recipes, supplies and instructions for making these birdfeeders appear at each of the listed sites. Song bird seed mix is available in most any grocery or home improvement store. Traditionally suet is made from rendered animal fat. The recipes here substitute shortening (Audubon) and gelatin (NWF). The pine cone feeders use peanut butter (Cornell).
1-Audubon Recipe, Materials are listed below the Video Demonstration:
2-NWF: Suet Ornaments (can use the Audubon Recipe):
DO NOT forget a source of water.