This homemade recipe is for wild birds in the winter when food is scarce. It’s called un-suet because it does not contain lard like traditional suets do. It’s simple to make and well-loved by the birds.
Also see how to hand-feed wild birds.
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Feeding Winter Birds
I was noticing a lot of nuthatches and woodpeckers living in the pine trees at the back of the yard but I could never seem to lure them to the bird feeders until I cracked open the peanut butter and made a batch of UnSuet-Suet. I much prefer using this to commercial suet due to occasional food quality issues (link no longer active).
When I first put it out, it was like watching this old Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Beefaroni commercial where dozens of children come out of the woodwork and race to The Coliseum (seriously?) to gobble up their lunch. Just imagine the children are birds and the Beefaroni is UnSuet-Suet.
Yes, 60 seconds is way too long for an ad. And yes, I feel old seeing this again.
The peanut butter is so alluring that birds that normally avoid each other end up feeding together in ignorant bliss. Good food can do that to you. Though I’m not sure Beefaroni could.
UnSuet Suet Recipe
For one 2x4x4″ suet feeder
- 1.5 cups birdseed
- handful of peanuts in the shell
- 1/2 cup pure peanut butter (or the least amount of peanut butter you can use and still hold the birdseed together)
Mix the birdseed and peanut butter thoroughly so you have no globs (safer for birds). Add in the shelled peanuts and spoon into suet feeder. You want as much birdseed as the peanut butter can hold together.
A Note About Giving Peanut Butter To Birds
According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology “In winter, especially in cold climates, peanut butter is a nutritious food to offer birds. Peanut butter sold in grocery stores is certified safe for human consumption, and is safe to offer birds when cold or cool temperatures keep it fairly hard. In warmer weather it must not be kept outside long enough to become rancid or soft.
There is some concern that soft peanut butter can stick to birds’ mouths. To make it grittier, cornmeal can be added, but because both corn and peanuts provide excellent media for bacterial and fungal growth, make sure peanut butter feeders are cleaned out frequently. Peanut oils can separate in both pure peanut butter and in mixtures. If these oils adhere to a nesting bird’s feathers, they can be transferred to eggs, plugging the pores, so never provide peanut butter mixtures that become soft or oily.”
Empress v Squirrels
I now suspend my suet cage from a tree branch. With the exception of Super Squirrel (who can fly down a rope like a firefighter on pole), it’s too high off the ground and too far down from the tree branch for mere mortal squirrels to reach it:
This is what first happened when I hung it near a tree trunk:
Which then provoked this:
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛