Despite consuming on average a fourth to a half of their body weight, birds are picky eaters! They stand at a feeder, pushing away the “filler” while focusing on the essential seeds. A mess of colorful seeds lies on the ground; bits and pieces are extracted and flown to a nearby branch for eating or sharing. You can make seed mixes while tailoring recipes to the specific types of birds you would like to see visit.
Come One, Come All
In creating mixes, start paying attention to the seeds remaining on the ground. The solution is easy! Just eliminate particular seeds when refilling and try new combinations, perhaps adding fresh or dried apple slices, grapes, or cranberries. Please note you may have different birds visiting in late summer and winter; therefore, you can adjust the combinations to feature specific birds.
- Black Oil Sunflower Seeds: attract black-billed magpies, blackbirds, cassin, evening grosbeaks, finches, Florida grackles, goldfinches, northern cardinals, and starlings.
- Safflower Seeds: black-capped chickadees, black-headed grosbeaks, blue jays, Carolina chickadees, downy woodpeckers, evening grosbeaks, house finches, and indigo buntings.
- Shelled Peanuts: blue jays, yellow-rumpled warblers, starlings, Carolina Wrens, and ruby-crowned kinglets.
- Millet: Ground feeding birds, such as cardinals, doves, juncos, sparrows, thrashers, and Carolina wrens.
- Nyjer Seed, or Thistle: chickadees, finches, sparrows, and woodpeckers.
The Homemade Bird Ball
Involve children in the making of birdseed, especially with a recipe as easy as the bird ball.
- Begin by mixing one pound of lard with one jar of peanut butter; then, add five cups cornmeal, six cups of oats, two cups sunflower seeds, and two cups of raisins.
- While spoons may start the process, hands will be necessary. The result will offer six balls.
- Before hanging, take each ball and roll it into a mixture of sunflower seeds and raisins; then, use a string to tie the ball, allowing a loop at the top to hang on a branch.
High-Fat Winter Suet
Birds need high fat and protein sources to maintain energy levels. Suet is an ideal way to attract insect-eating birds, such as blue jays, Carolina chickadees, Carolina wrens, nuthatches, jays, tufted titmice, woodpeckers, and chickadees, Set up a low platform feeder and include a roof.
How to Make it:
- Gather an enamel camping mug. On the opposite side of the handle, duct tape a sturdy twig to the inside of the cup.
- Melt a half-cup of rendered fat in a Mason jar, set in a pot of hot water. Stir in a fourth cup of peanut butter, one cup birdseed mix, and fourth cup of rolled oats.
- Pour the suet mixture into the mug, then place it in the refrigerator to set.
- Hang the feeder from a strong branch and use a rope to tie it in place.
Make a Muffin
Muffins are self-contained food items that can remain on stone walls, in crooks of trees, and fences. Children enjoy investigating the remnants and find happiness when birds are spotted nibbling on the treat!
- With a food processor, finely chop a half-cup each of raisins, sunflower seeds, peanuts, dried cranberries, one small apple, and a fourth cup of bacon.
- Mix one cup of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour; add one egg, one cup of milk, three Tablespoons of melted butter, and two Tablespoons of maple syrup or honey.
- Pour the muffin batter into a greased tin and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Start by going on a nature walk to collect pinecones. Please encourage your children to stuff their pockets full! If the day is nice, make the recipe outdoors! Before you get started, look at the pinecones to assess if the scales are open or closed. If closed, thirty seconds in the microwave will do the trick!
- Situate the string first, using about six to eight inches per pinecone.
- Combine one cup of peanut butter, two Tablespoons shortening or butter, and three cups of birdseed. It’s better if it’s slightly melted when dribbling batter into each scale.
- Roll the pinecones through the birdseed mix before hanging in trees and bushes.
Making bird seed feeders and recipes is hands-on fun for toddlers to ‘tweens, and teens! The lessons children engage in build memories, sink into their hearts and minds, and help them experience the beauty and wonder in nature!