I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bird feeding is just plain fun. And the peak feeder season has already begun in my backyard! Fall migration is swinging into high gear, so I’ve switched my feeder menu to a hearty, high-calorie diet. If you want to make your backyard a must-stop destination for migrating birds, here’s a handy checklist to help you fill your feeders:
- Stock up on basic seeds. You’ll host plenty of large and small seed-eaters in winter, so be ready!
- Try mealworms and other insect foods. You may attract a few interesting birds that you don’t usually see.
- Stock up on suet and other fats, which are literal lifesavers when temperatures start to dip below freezing.
I used to melt my suet before proceeding with making treats for the birds, but one day, I discovered that it doesn’t take much effort to mix the little extras into unmelted fat. Suet may look solid, but it yields easily to my hands or the back of a spoon. Here’s the basic method that works best for me:
STEP 1. Unwrap a commercial suet block, remove the tray, and drop the block in to a small mixing bowl.
STEP 2. Measure and pour in the extra goodies you want to add, like cornmeal, peanuts, or sunflower chips.
STEP 3. Use the back of a sturdy spoon to smash the extras into the suet.
STEP 4. To make sure the extra ingredients are thoroughly distributed, so that every bird bite has a little something in it, finish mixing by using your hands in a grab-and-squeeze motion. Put on a pair of disposable plastic gloves, or slip your hands into plastic bags to keep them grease-free.