To start is a gift for our feathered freinds, who often get ignored during the winter months!
One of my great delights as a child in Northeastern Ohio in the winter was to watch the birds that gathered around the bird feeders in our backyard which my father faithfully filled each morning. Without the ability to put a bird feeder on my apartment patio, I let several containers go to seed and leave them out for the birds and squirrels. Then in January I turn to something like this, I got this recipe originally from an internet freind who I think I got it from Susan Wittig.
½ pound lard
½ cup raisins
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup mixed bird seeds
¼ cup honey or molasses
about 3-4 cups cornmeal
Soften the lard and peanut butter briefly in the microwave to make it easier to mix. Add raisins, seeds, honey or molasses, and as much cornmeal as the mixture will absorb. I keep this in the refrigerator and soften it in the microwave when I'm ready to put it out. I "butter" it directly onto tree branches and place big dollops of it on the tops of bird feeders; it will, however, stain tree bark. I have frozen it in a square cake pan, cut it into blocks, and laid the boxes on the floor of my patio on foil.
- Hang strings of popcorn from tree branches, or scatter popped corn with the other seeds in the feeder.
- Many of summer's flowers will provide dried seeds for tasty winter treats for birds: sunflowers and coneflowers, especially. Store them in mouse-proof tins or in the freezer.
- Punch holes in a mostly-empty orange or grapefruit half (leave some for the birds!) and hang from a tree branch.
- Be sure your birds have plenty of fresh water—and keep the ice clear so they can get to it.