feeding birds

Feed the Birds- Fruit!!!

Robin eating grapes

Robin eating grapes

I have always  fed the birds in Winter. It is a family tradition that I keep up. I know black oil sunflower seeds are the preferred food for many birds so that is what I fill the feeders with. Other things are good for them, too. I noticed a sweet robin hanging out under the bird feeder a few days ago. I know robins like fruit so I tossed out a couple of slightly shriveled apples that were going to go to the compost heap. The robin began eating them almost right away. Today she was out there pecking at an apple so I brought out some grapes. She started eating the grapes right away. It was sweet. As I shoveled the walkway she’d give me a look but never flew away. She just kept eating her unlikely Winter treat.

It brought to mind a robin from years ago. My Mother always  fed the birds and one snowy day she saw a robin sitting under the feeder. She wanted to give her something she would really like so she sent my Father out to the bait store to get worms. She would toss a few out the window whenever she saw the robin. It was not lost on my Father that while he was NEVER allowed to bring bait into the house there was now a box of worms in the fridge. Mom read up in one of her bird books and discovered that robins are also fruit eaters so she switched to feeding the robin raisins. Eventually the robin would chirp under the kitchen window and my Mother would toss out some raisins. Over time the robin would flutter by the window if the raisins weren’t tossed out when she first arrive. You have to understand that my Mom had a special gift with all animals. They sense something in her that  was gentle. Mom decided to hold the raisins in her palm rather than toss them one day. Sure enough the robin landed in her hand to eat them. The ritual continued for several winters. The robin would chirp, Mom would open the window and hold out a hand of raisins and the little bird would sit on her hand and eat them. I got a chance to feed her as well on several occasions.

So if you have some extra fruit around the house consider sharing with our feathered friends. They will be a welcome change. Who knows? You might even get a chance to hold a robin.

Feed the Birds

Suet/seed bowl for the birds

Suet/seed bowl for the birds

With cold weather it’s a great time to fill those bird feeders. Times are hard for them in cold weather. I have been feeding birds my whole life. I have fond memories of building a bird feeder with my dad when I was just a kid. Over the years I’ve fed the birds all sorts of things but I find myself most often going for black oil sunflower seeds. They are a favorite food for many birds. You can also make them a special high-fat treat for extra cold days. I melted together some suet and then combined black oil sunflower seeds with some nuts and raisins. I put the mixture in little bowls to harden. Once firmed up I dipped the bottom of the bowls in hot water for a few seconds to loosen the mixture.  I then placed the suet blocks in old onion bags for easy hanging. Here are some other bird-friendly recipes. 

Bird Pudding

1 c. melted suet or shortening

1 c. sugar

5 c. water

2 c. cornmeal

1/2 flour

2 c. cold water

1 c. raisins seeds or nutmeats

Bring fat, sugar and water to the boil and remove from the heat. Stir in the cornmeal and flour and stir until smooth. Add cold water and raisins, seeds or nuts, stirring until mixed  well.  Pour in loaf pan and store in fridge. Place slices of the pudding on feeding trays. Note: this is a cold weather treat. 

Songbird Muffins

1 c. each cornmeal, whole wheat flour and bread crumbs

1/2 t. baking soda

3/4 c. dried fruit, like raisins or currants

1/2 c. rendered suet or shortening

1 c. water

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and stir in fruit. Add fat and water and stir to combine. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Place muffins on feeder trays or stick on branches.

Hang suet mixture in a mesh bag

Hang suet mixture in a mesh bag

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