red flannel pantry

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Archive for the tag “feeding birds in the winter”

suet success!

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I had a first taker for the suet I made: a female red-bellied woodpecker. Based on others’ observations and insights, I’ve temporarily removed the peanut feeder, and that seems to have eliminated starling visits, at least for now. I’ve read that although starlings can’t hang upside down to eat like woodpeckers, they will do their best hummingbird imitations in their attempts to reach suet in this type of feeder–that’s something I’d like to see! Nuthatches, woodpeckers and chickadees can feed from below, so I’m looking forward to other visitors stopping by.

making suet

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I’ve been thinking about making suet for a while. I researched it online (lard vs bacon grease?), ripped recipes out of Birds & Blooms and saved plastic suet containers. Then last week out of the blue my friend Sally handed me a suet recipe she had gotten from Roy and Charlotte Lukes, long-time Door County Wisconsin naturalists–it was a sign to get cooking!

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Daughter #2 helped me. Photobomber Bud was thinking we were whipping up an afternoon snack for him.

You can find the Lukes’ recipe here. I thought it would be difficult to find lard at the grocery store, but there it was, in the refrigerated section by the hams. I followed the microwave method of melting the lard and peanut butter, and then I dumped the rest of the ingredients on top and stirred to combine. I also added a box of currants that were past their prime.

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I scooped the mixture into the 9-oz suet containers I had saved and a couple of grapefruit halves (thanks, Kate and Ken!) and put them in the refrigerator to solidify.

I’ll let you know in a couple of days what the birds have to say about my new avian catering business.

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