What do you get when you cook up that bacon on a Sunday Morning? (my apologies to all the vegetarians and vegans out there!) You get crispy bacon, of course, AND you get a pan full of bacon grease. Most of us know bacon and it’s grease can be cumulatively deadly to us humans, but for the birds — when it’s used to make your own DIY bird feeders — it’s like “manna from heaven”.
During the summer, birds get their energy and fats from all the seeds and little critters they gobble up in the course of a day. In winter, when the ground is frozen and snow-covered and most bugs are dead or dormant, food is at a real premium. it is SO easy to help birds find something to eat, especially when the temperature dips or after a snow storm blows in.
To keep up their energy, most backyard birds eat seeds, insect and suet. making a suet feeder to help them along over the cold winter months just requires a bit of pre-planning.
Here’s what you need
- Coffee can or milk carton
- Pine Cones
- Bacon Grease, lard or other fats which are solid when they are cold, ie: rendered chicken, beef or pork fat
- Bird Seed
- Raisins, Nuts, Dried Cranberries, etc.
- Piece or cord, string or thin rope
Here’s What You Do
1. Rinse the coffee can or milk carton out and dry.
2. Set it somewhere near your stove. I keep mine under my kitchen sink.
3. After frying bacon or rending fat, pour the grease into the can or carton.
4. Add seeds or nuts or fruit but make sure there remains a layer of grease on top.
5. As you cook and have accumulate more grease, keep pouring it into the can or carton and keep adding the seeds, fruit and nuts.
6. When your container is full, or when you have about an inch of solid, heat the can slightly or peel away the carton to remove the suet. If you opt to keep filling to the top, once removed from the container, all you have to do is take a heated knife to cut 1-inch … or thicker … slices.
7. Poke a hole into the edge and insert a looped piece of string. A bit more fat will seal it in.
It looks pretty messy – my daughter goes as far as to say, “Gross” – but the birds LOVE it! Now all you have to do is hang it where the birds will find it – AND THEY WILL find it – and watch the show.
Pine Cone Option
1. Tie a piece of string in order to hang the pine cone
2. Pour bird seeds, fruits and nuts into a jelly roll pan or similar.
3. Heat the fat in a shallow pan.
4. When slightly cooled, roll the pine cone in the grease and immediately roll it in the seeds mixture.
My feeders are right outside my office windows. I also have an old screen on the ground which sits on top of the snow (when there IS snow) for those so-called birds which are “ground-feeders”. Not only do I love watching all sorts of birds winging their way in for a meal … so do Luna and Joey – that is when they’re not napping!
Listen to this fun short Green Divas DIY podcast and hear more about making those birdies happy.