Cold Weather Feeding- the Grocery List! January 02 2014

Well Fed Birds in Winter Sans the Bird Food

Johnny's in the Basement Mixing up the Medicine...
Every time we make a batch of this stuff, Dylan's iconic song Subterranean Homesick Blues comes to mind!

We're not talking bread here...you really can keep birds well fed without buying bird food. Perfect for cold weather, including Polar Vortexes and Super Storms, this simple mix is packed with fat, protein and calories to help birds keep warm.

Appealing to many species, it does have an alias or two, and is concocted with just four pantry staples. The mix has taken on variations over the years, but it's most commonly known as Bluebird Delight (by Janelle Peterson). They should change the name, because around here Northern Cardinals, Eastern Phoebes, Pine Warblers, Chickadees, Titmice, Carolina Wrens, and others love the stuff.

After the first few batches, you don't even need the written recipe... it's that easy, and prep time is ten minutes flat!

And versatile? Feed this mix on a platform feeder, in dish feeder, form it into squares for your suet feeder, even large formed balls are perfect for staked fruit & suet feeders.

So here's the most basic version - and birds still love it!
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 4 cups yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup lard
Put lard in small saucepan to melt-don't burn it!
Place everything else in a large bowl.
Drizzle melted lard while mixing all ingredients together.
The result is a crumbly mixture.
If too moist with no texture, add more flour.
If too dry or powdery and more lard.
Let cool and place in fridge.
Beef tallow was recommended in the original recipe, but store-bought, solid lard does swell by our birds.

The recipe produces a good size yield, and the following ingredients are totally optional.
1 cup shelled, chopped peanuts
1 cup chopped sunflower hearts
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raisins-soaked
1 cup currants

No need to add all of these ingredients because that's overkill. Our only two additions are peanuts and sunflower hearts, and the food processor works great for this step.

Now go feed your birds... they're hungry and having a tough time too with all the snow. Not recommended for warmer months as lard can turn rancid.

Side note: A recent recipe touted all ingredients as being GMO-free, purchased from health food stores and known sources. First thought was that's commendable. Until it was revealed that palm oil was used for the fat. OMG...  forget the GMO's - are you kidding... Palm Oil? Next thought was not so good at all. We'll take the lard-which is now actually proven to be one of the healthiest fats out there (if you make your own). You're so right Mr. Dylan, The Times They Are a Changin'!