Birdie Cakes

Monday, May 10, 2010

Shug loves birds and gets such a kick out of the ones that come visit our backyard where he plays every day.

Since so much is blooming right now, the bird feeder isn't as in demand as it was during the cooler months, but there are certain birds that love suet cakes. I used to get them at the hardware store until I read in the UK Version of Country Living a couple of months ago that you can make them at home using just a 1:1 ratio of birdseed to lard (and you can get as elaborate with your recipe as you like also, adding nuts or berries).

Because the lard of course melts when it's hot outside, these are really best suited for cooler weather - but the birds eat these so quickly when I cut them into soap - sized pieces (think of a bar of Ivory) that a slice I put out in the morning is completely eaten by nightfall with no icky drippy lard. Of course, it's not August and 100+* yet...

Here's how to do it:
Prepare two empty, clean milk cartons by cutting them in half horizontally, place them on a cookie sheet that will later go into the refrigerator.

Melt the lard (we got a 16oz pkg). Let it cool so it isn't lava-like but still clear, and pour half into each carton.

Add an equal amount of birdseed to each carton. Stir really well.

Place the cooling cartons of birdseed and lard in the refrigerator, visiting every 15 minutes or so to give another really good stir. This keeps all the birdseed from settling on the bottom.

After an hour or two, the mixture will solidify enough to cut into slices. I store these slices in the freezer and bring one out each day for the birds.

Bluejays, woodpeckers, and chickadees love these little birdie cakes and they spend a good amount of time enjoying them so the boys can get a good look. It tickles me that when a bird finally flies off after munching at the seed feeder or a birdie cake, or just hopping around our yard, Shug says, "uh-oh, went to the store!".

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