Help feed the birds

>> Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I saw a photo the other day of a Christmas tree trunk used as a prop for peanut butter used to feed birds. I agree it is a good idea. I have been doing this same thing for a couple of years now, but with a twist. I am one of those families that doesn’t buy a Christmas tree every year. Yeah, that’s right, I have an artificial tree and it is just as beautiful as any real once-live tree and it works just as well to satisfy our need for celebration.

Anyway, I put thick globs of peanut butter on my existing trees and the birds love it. I simply smear a large glob in the crotch of two branches and they find it without any problem.

Whenever I go grocery shopping with my wife, or when I do it myself, I look for the cheapest, largest jar of peanut butter I can find and the birds and I are set.

Birds eat up the peanut butter quickly so it never sits around long enough to spoil during those warmer days of winter we are beginning to experience more frequently.

Every winter we see an increase in the number of birds as well as in variety because of the suet feeders (and the fact that very few people put food out for birds). Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Redwing blackbirds, Chickadees, Starlings, and Dark-eyed Juncos all come around to enjoy the free offering. At times, the noise from the birds is almost deafening but it is a very satisfying noise as I know they have a better chance of survival due in some small part to me and cheap peanut butter.

There are many recipes on the internet for suet-based or peanut butter-based mixtures but I find that plain peanut butter works just as well.

Here is a very basic recipe that can be used as a ‘starter’ mix and keeps well even in warmer weather:
peanut butter (you can use smooth or crunchy, I have not noticed any difference in bird activity so do it for yourself)

oatmeal (Quaker oats or whatever)
cornmeal
lard (do not substitute vegetable shortening)
white flour (just to make it not so sticky)

Melt the lard and peanut butter, and stir them together. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture into freezer containers or muffin tins or a brownie pan, about 1 ½ inches thick. When cool, cut into squares, wrap in wax paper or plastic, and store in the freezer. You can add a bit more peanut butter to make a softer mixture which allows you to stuff into any holes or nooks in your tree.

You can get as creative as you want with recipes by adding pieces of fruit, corn bread mix, popcorn, raw seeds, fruit juice, eggs (as cannibalistic as this sounds the will eat it.) Just keep in mind that most of this embellishment is more for you than for the birds, sure they will eat it but you really don’t need to go to the extra expense.

So, be creative and join in on the fun of bringing birds to your yard.

2 comments:

Kylee January 4, 2008 at 8:19 AM  

Ooooh, thanks for this! I haven't ever done this and I'm definitely going to try it.

Greg W January 4, 2008 at 9:37 AM  

Hi Kylee, I have birds that flock around my office window, which is where this peanut butter is smeared in the dogwood tree. I just looked out and noticed all the peanut butter is gone so I better get out there and spread some more.
Good luck on your "new" feeder.

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