Adding a bird feeder to your garden adds interest by attracting wildlife to your yard. Different mixes of seeds attract different types of birds, and sometimes even squirrels. Specialty mixed wild bird seed or food blocks, when purchased in stores, can get expensive when you feed a high volume of birds and squirrels. Making your own seed mixes and blocks is simple and gives you the freedom to try out new combination and recipes according to the preferences of the birds and squirrels that frequent your feeders.
Things You'll Need
- Dried fruit
- Large mixing bowl
- Bird/squirrel feeder
- Airtight container or bucket
- Measuring cup
- Saucepan (medium or large)
- Pan, tins or pine cones
- Bread or crackers
Dry Seed Mix
Combine 2 to 4 cups dried fruit, 2 cups chopped nuts (whole nuts are acceptable for large birds and squirrels) and 2 cups seeds in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the dry mixture into your bird or squirrel feeder and place in a location where the animals can access it.
Store unused mixture in an airtight container or bucket in a cool, dry place for later use.
Hard Food Cake
Melt 1 cup suet (the hard, white fat from the area around the loins and kidneys of cattle) in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken slightly.
Add 1 cup any mixture of seeds, 1/2 cup chopped nuts and 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped, dried fruit to a bowl and stir.
Pour slightly thickened, cooled suet into the mixing bowl with the seeds, fruit and nuts. Stir to combine.
Spread mixture into pan or other type of mold, or fill a food block feeder with the mixture directly.
Soft Food Mix
Melt 3 1/2 cups suet and 1 cup peanut butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Once the mixture melts, remove from heat and allow to cool and slightly thicken.
Combine 1 cup dried, ground bread or crackers, 1 cup mixed seeds and 1/4 cup dried fruit in a bowl.
Add the cooled, slightly thickened suet to the mixing bowl. Stir to combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Serve mixture by smearing onto trees or posts or packing into feeders, tins or pine cones.
Tips & Warnings
- Peanut butter may be used along with suet in either food block recipe. It appeals to both birds and squirrels.
- Seeds that both birds and squirrels enjoy include sunflower, safflower, cracked corn, thistle, millet and oats. Any other available seed or grain are often acceptable in mixes, as well.
- Nuts that appeal to birds and squirrels include peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews or any other available nut. Use unsalted varieties. Chop nuts when feeding them to smaller species of birds.
- Fruits acceptable for birds include dried berries, currants, apples, raisins, dates and prunes. Chop these dried fruits for smaller species of birds.
- Dried, finely chopped ground meat or dried insects are optional ingredients in these mixes, appealing to carnivorous birds and occasionally squirrels.
- Photo Credit Viewstock/Photodisc/Getty Images
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