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Yuletide Treats for Birds and Beasties

Feeding wildlife is a common practice on the Solstice for many Pagans. However for urban and suburban dwellers it is wise to stick only with birds. The Fish and Game Departments in the US frown on the feeding of wildlife and in some states feeding anything other than songbirds is illegal. Please consult your local wildlife agency for more info.

If it is not illegal and if you decided to move beyond birds I strongly advise that you research the diet of the wildlife you wish to leave food out for. Also this is a onetime feeding, do not let the creatures (other than songbirds) come to rely on you for food.
DO NOT feed them anything that is not whole, organic and natural, by giving them treated, modified foods you are compromising their systems their health and their species future. Do not leave table scraps for them, cheap processed food or anything they would not find for themselves in the wild.

If you live rurally, however, a small bundle of untreated, organic hay, organic corn. For birds: pieces of organic fruit speared onto tree limbs or nuts scattered if left out far enough in the woods will help curb those hungry, nosy critters from finding their way to your backyard. Consult your local Fish & Game Department (or equivalent outside of the US) about the ins and outs of feeding local wildlife.



An online friend (thx Patti!) once described a Wildlife Offering Yule Altar she set up each year. she used a sturdy oak log in which a niche was carved out in the centre and the log was decorated with various relevant symbols and decor. Seed or fruit was then left in the carved niche.


It is very important for animal health to use only organic ingredients here in the US, sadly much of our food supply contains genetically modified foods (corn one of the biggest culprits). Please consider only the very best for your body and any wildlife you feed.

Birdseed Treat Recipes

For feeding local winter birds

Take a large pinecone and spread natural(organic is best) peanut butter all over it and then roll the cone in bird seed, tie with a bright red cotton string or twine and hang out for the birds to enjoy! On a cotton string thread cranberries and slices of organic fruit (oranges and apple work very well). These are great for wrapping around outside bushes.

SOURCE: unknown

Seed Cornbread

Get a package of cornbread mix.
Prepare it as directed on the package except add an extra egg (egg shells crumbled into the mixture also.)
Add 1 c. bird seed.

If the mixture is too dry, add a little more water.
Bake as directed on package. Cool.

Cut into serving size pieces. Freeze in small freezer bags until needed.
Defrost and crumble into pieces onto a platform feeder and watch your birds devour it!

SOURCE: unknown

Morning Madness

3 1/2 cups organic oatmeal
1 quart water
1 lb suet
1 (12 oz) jar organic peanut butter, chunky
1 c. organic raisins or nuts
3 1/2 cups organic cornmeal
3 1/2 cups organic farina

Cook oatmeal in water for 2 minutes. Remove and stir in suet and peanut butter until melted. Add cornmeal and farina. Cool until you can handle it. Shape into cakes that will fit in your feeder. Keep in your freezer until the birds need another bit of Morning Madness.
http://birding.about.com/library/blrecipe12.htm

Peanut Butter Suet

2 cups organic chunky peanut butter
2 cups lard
4 cups organic quick-cook oats
4 cups organic corn meal
2 cups organic flour
2/3 cup organic raw sugar

Melt peanut butter and lard in a large pot over a low flame. Add the remaining ingredients & mix well. Place the mixture into square freezer containers, packing firmly to approx. 1-1/2 inches thick. Cover and freeze. You can also add raisins or chopped nuts.

SOURCE: http://www.projectwildlife.org

Soft Suet Medley

4 1/2 cups ground fresh suet
3/4 cup dried and fine ground bakery goods
(whole-wheat or cracked-wheat bread or crackers are best)
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup dried and chopped fruit (currants, raisins, or berries)
3/4 cup dried and fine ground meat (optional)

Melt suet in a saucepan over low heat. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Allow the suet to cool until slightly thickened, then stir it into the mixture in the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pour or pack into forms or suet feeders; smear onto tree trunks or overhanging limbs and branches; or pack into pine cones.

Sharon Smith's Sure-fire Suet Mix

1 part peanut butter (I use crunchy)
1 part shortening
1 part flour
3 parts cornmeal
1 part cracked corn

I also add black oil sunflower seeds and/or mixed seed
http://www.bcpl.net/~tross/by/suetrecs.html

Easy Homemade Pure Suet

Suet is usually raw beef fat. If the temperature outside is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can place the suet into a holder and watch the birds come. Woodpeckers, chickadees, creepers, cardinals, wrens, and nuthatches all enjoy this plain suet. If the temperature rises above 70 degrees, then the suet may become rancid and melt. Do not use it if this happens; use suet cakes made from rendered suet.

Rendered suet has been melted down and the meat pieces removed. The fat is cooled and can be frozen for later use. If you remelt it and strain it again, it becomes harder and will not melt as easily. (You can try lard which sold in grocery stores if you do not want to make your own.) Rendered suet can be placed in suet holders and set out as is but why not go just a few steps further and make some VERY easy recipes with it? Be sure to hang it in the shade during the middle of the day (or all day during the summer) and keep the suet out of the reach of dogs or they will eat it all!

SOURCE: http://birding.about.com/library/blrecipe14.htm

Feeder Stick Recipe
attracts woodpeckers, chickadees, & nuthatches

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup lard - any animal fat will do
1 cup flour
3 cups corn meal

Mix well. You can add peanut hearts or seed to the mixure. Store unused mixture in a cool place.

SOURCE: http://birding.about.com/library/blrecipe17.htm

Fruit Baskets
This is a fun project to do with your children, but adults should use the paring knife!!!!

one half large orange for each "basket"
paring knife
pieces of string or yarn, cut about 10 inches long
sunflower seeds
millet seeds
raisins
cheerios

Cut orange(s) in half and scrape out fruit to make basket. With paring knife, poke one hole on each upper side of orange about 1/2 inch from top of orange. Thread string through holes to make a hanger for "basket". Fill "basket" with seeds, raisins and cheerios. Hang "basket" from tree in your yard and peek out now and then to watch the animals enjoy.

SOURCE: unknown



Junco Bread

3 C. cornmeal
2tsp baking powder
1/2c meat dripping or lard
3 c. water

Mix all ingredients and bake in an 8"x8"x2" deep pan at 375* for 30-35min. Reduce heat if bread looks as if it is forming a hard crust. Recipe may be doubled or halved. Place in mesh bags (onion bags work very well)

SOURCE: unknown

Peanut Butter Bird Cakes

wild bird seed
large jar peanut butter
waxed paper

Remove lid from the peanut butter jar and heat the jar of peanut butter in the microwave at 30 second intervals till it gets runny, then pour it in a bowl and add enough bird seed to make a thick stiff paste. Turn out on wax paper and roll it in a log. Wrap it in wax paper in put it in the freezer for 2 hours. Then take out in cut thick slices off and hang outside or place in your bird feed. Store wrapped in the refrigerator.

Then there is the one of spreading peanut butter on a pine cone and rolling in bird seed and hanging outside. I also have spread peanut butter on a large dog biscuit and rolled in bird seed and hung them outside, and if you don't hang them high enough any dog in the area will eat it.

SOURCE: unknown

Suet Cupcakes 1 lb. suet in small pieces
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup mixed wild bird seed
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup rolled oats

Melt suet over a low flame. Add other ingredients into the fat & mix until completely blended. Pour mixture into muffin tins lined with paper cupcake cups. Chill until hardened. Remove paper & place in your wire basket.

SOURCE:http://www.projectwildlife.org/

Wild Bird Seed Cookies

2 cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup Wild Birds Unlimited® Simply Suet (pure rendered suet)
2 eggs
2/3 cup of Wild Birds Unlimited® Seed Blend
Macaroni elbows as hangers
2 egg whites for wash
Bird-shaped cookie cutters
Twine or string to hang cookies

DO NOT ADD SALT TO THE COOKIE RECIPE

Sift dry ingredients together Cut in shortening with pastry blender until crumbly Add eggs until well blended Add WBU Seed Blend Knead until smooth Wrap in wax paper and plastic bag and chill for an hour or overnight Roll out on lightly floured surface to ¼" thickness Cut out bird shapes Press macaroni piece towards the top of each cookie for ease in hanging Brush cookies with slightly beaten egg whites Press more WBU Seed Blend over the top of each cookie Place on an ungreased cookie sheet Bake at 325 F for 12 - 15 minutes or until cookies harden. Cool and hang.

(Makes approximately 2-3 dozen)

SOURCE: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/cottage_gardening/13452

Hard Suet Tidbit Cakes

1/2 lb. fresh ground suet
1/3 cup sunflower seed
2/3 cup wild bird seed (mix)
1/8 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup raisins
v Melt suet in a saucepan over low heat. Allow it to cool thoroughly, then reheat it. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Allow the suet to cool until slightly thickened, then stir it into the mixture in the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pour into pie pan or form, or pack into suet feeders. Optional or substitute ingredients: millet (or other birdseed), cornmeal, cooked noodles, chopped berries, dried fruit.

SOURCE: unknown

Woodpecker Goo

Get a log or piece of untreated wood. Drill holes in it, about 1/2" to 1" in diameter. You can also attach a perch if you want. Render the suet as normal but do not strain. Leave the small bits of meat in also, cut them up if necessary. Let cool. Push the soft suet in the holes and hang on a feeder pole. (You can also use a recipe with peanut butter in it and serve it in this way.)

SOURCE: http://birding.about.com/library/blrecipe9.htm