Jan 16 2015
Backyard birds need high-calorie food when the weather is harsh. Did you know you can “cook” for the birds?
Marcy Cunkelman has a favorite No-melt Peanut Butter Suet recipe that’s a real bird-pleaser and well worth trying.
The recipe has a long and famous history in our area. Scott Shalaway calls it The Best Suet recipe and has been telling folks about it on his radio show since 2005. He credits Martha Sargent in Alabama for passing it along to him. Julie Zickefoose, from southern Ohio, has a similar recipe called “Zick Dough” that omits the sugar and adds chick starter.
Marcy makes Scott’s version and loads it into holes drilled in old logs. (The blue jays, above, are waiting for her to reload the holes.) You can also offer it on trays or in suet cages. The secret is real lard — not substitutes.
No-melt Peanut Butter Suet Recipe (from Martha Sargent in Alabama)
Melt 1 cup of lard and 1 cup of crunchy peanut butter in microwave or over low heat in a kettle. Stir, then add:
2 cups of quick cook oats
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of sugar
Pour into square containers and freeze for your suet holders or load into a suet log or even spread on a tree trunk.
We’re heading into a warming trend but winter is still with us so there’s plenty of time to “get cooking.”
Note this caveat from Julie Zickefoose: Julie used to feed her birds Zick Dough all year long but the bluebirds got gout from it! (Yes, even birds can get gout from a rich diet.) The bluebirds recovered when she stopped feeding them suet in the non-winter months. Here’s her recipe and warning at Birdwatcher’s Digest.
(photos by Marcy Cunkelman)