I think your birds need a Christmas treat; don't you? Here are a couple of food ideas your birds will love.
Mix together a cup of chunky peanut butter, a cup of suet (you can use another cup of peanut butter if you can't find suet), and add 2 1/2 cups of course yellow corn meal or birdseed to thicken. Pack the mixture into pinecones, and hang the pinecones with twine.As an alternative or in addition to stuffing described above, use the same recipe but substitute raisins and/or peanuts instead of the birdseed.
Add some of the following items to an outdoor tree for the birds to eat.• Strung popcorn • Strung fresh cranberries• Thick fresh orange slices• Dried apple rings• Dried figs on a string• Peanuts in the shell (under the tree)• Tiny fresh crab apples with stem• Dried baby corn bundles• Dried large ears of corn• Rice cakes• Red flame seedless grapes tied up in bunches• Coconut shell pieces• Bird cookies (see below)
2 cups flour1/2 tsp. baking powder1/2 cup sugar2/3 cup lard, butter or solid margarine2 eggs2/3 cup birdseedElbow macaroni or Ditali pasta to use as hangers (to hold twine)2 egg whites as washBird- or nature-themed cookie cuttersWool or twine to hang cookiesNo saltSift dry ingredients together, and then cut in shortening until crumbly. Add eggs until dough firms enough to add birdseed. Knead mixture until smooth and chill overnight wrapped in wax paper and plastic bags. Then roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into shapes. Press in macaroni piece towards top of each cookie for ease in hanging, and brush lightly with beaten egg whites. Finally, press more birdseed over each cookie, place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, or until cookies are hard. Makes 4 dozen.Local bird expert Larry Collins owns Wild Birds Unlimited, 2454 Hwy. 6&50, which caters to folks who want the best backyard birdfeeding experience possible. Email your birdfeeding and birding questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and he'll answer them in his bi-weekly Q&A column in the Free Press.