Cooking for Birds

This week I’ve been cooking for the garden birds. They’re so greedy at the moment and really seem to love the fat based treats. I have a great little book called ‘Cooking for Birds’ full of very easy recipes to make tasty and nutritious birdy titbits.

I loosely based this on one of their suet mixtures but instead used a jar of saved up fat from oven roasts & sausage cooking. I melted the fat in a pan then took it off the heat to cool before mixing in the following ingredients until it was about the consistency of flapjack:

Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
A Weetabix biscuit
Peanut Butter
An over-ripe banana
Stale breadcrumbs
A handful of mixed bird seed
A tablespoon of sugar (or honey)

You can use any kind of stale bread product (muffins, bagels etc.) but it’s best whizzed up into breadcrumbs to help the mixture bind. Most breakfast cereals or stale cake will work too, crumble them up a bit though. Any past it’s best fruit is good or dried fruit if you can spare it. Then I pressed the mixture into chinese takeaway plastic tubs and popped them in the freezer for about 20mins before chopping into chunks and scattering about the garden and on the feeders.

I also had a couple of pine cones that I’d collected earlier in the year which I tied some string to and then pushed some of the cooled mixture tightly between the hard ‘leaves’. All ready to hang from the bushes. The tit birds in particular are loving these.

I’ve had so many hungry visitors already this morning – noisy blackbirds, starlings, goldfinches, chaffinches, robin, all kinds of tits, a little bouncing dunnock – it’s been lovely. In our front garden we have a bird cherry tree and we were treated to a flock of red wings visiting. I don’t expect the berries will be there for long!

What little treats do you give to your garden birds?


3 Responses to “Cooking for Birds”

  1. 1 Baye 11/02/2012 at 3:01 pm

    That blog title had me confused! Usually one sees something like, “cooking THE bird.” Wouldn’t want to be cooking the little guys ,through. (Every time I write something like this I remind myself that I really should work on becoming a vegetarian!)

    Off to see if I can get that book. I do hope my over-abundance of squirrels will leave them alone.

  2. 2 Jodoform 10/03/2012 at 7:32 pm

    I second the book recommendation; it’s full of good and fun ideas, as is this one, but I’d urge you to keep to the suet as cooking fat can be problematic for birds — I’ll quote from the RSPB’s guide:

    “Fat from cooking is bad for birds. The problem with cooked fat from roasting tins and dishes is that the meat juices have blended with the fat and when allowed to set, this consistency makes it prone to smearing, not good for birds’ feathers. It is a breeding ground for bacteria, so potentially bad for birds’ health. Salt levels depend on what meat is used and if any salt is added during cooking.”

    • 3 thesockgarden 13/03/2012 at 7:30 pm

      Oh, I didn’t realise that about the cooking fat – thank you for the information – I have suet in the cupboard so I’ll use that next time. 🙂

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