Pheathers – Bird Biscuits

I’ve been wanting to create a ‘bird biscuit’ of some kind to feed the birds this winter. Our snowy weather is the perfect time to try; the ground and many other food sources are covered under six inches of the snow.

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I searched through some recipes, and found a few I liked, but didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand. I fiddled around and came up with my own mix of ingredients. The biscuits baked up nicely. Give this recipe a try, adapting it to your own easily available ingredients.

1 1/2 Cups White Cornmeal (Yellow is called for in most bird recipes, but I had white on hand.)
1 Cup bird seed, dried fruits, etc. (I used dried cranberries, hulled sunflower seeds and mixed bird seed.)
1/3 Cup Vegetable Shortening. (Other recipes use bacon fat.)
1 Cup Water

Mix cornmeal, seeds, fruits with shortening.

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Add the water and mix well. Dough will be very stiff.

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I used an ice cream scoop to place dough on silicon pans. A cookie sheet would work also.

Bake in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. While the biscuits were still hot I punched a hole in the center with a plastic straw. Most held up fine to this…a few crumbled.

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I strung the most intact biscuit with a string. I gathered up a broken biscuit, a piece with good form, and the strung biscuit and took them outside to the bird and suet feeders.

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I put the firm biscuit in the suet feeder. Before I even went indoors a woodpecker visited the feeder. I don’t know if he touched the bird biscuit, but I think not.

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Within minutes a small flock of grackles found the biscuit, they pecked away, and the crumbles fell to the ground…to the delight of the grackles waiting below. The fallen crumbs were quickly eaten.

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I placed the crumbles on the bird swing, and tied the strung biscuit to the rope. An hour later all the crumbles are gone, but the biscuit on a string seems untouched. I predict this treat will disappear in a few hours when evening draws near.

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This dove quickly made use of the fresh water I placed outdoors. A reminder to change it daily, maybe even twice, while the freeze continues.

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This bear of a dog is one of the reasons I tried to place all the biscuits off the ground. Yesterday I threw some stale English Muffins out for the birds only to see this smart beast hunting and scooping them out with his snout. He’s visited the yard on other occasions when I’ve thrown bread out. I don’t mind, but he is definitely well-fed and the birds need all the sustenance they can get in this weather. I’m hoping the birds eat the biscuits before the hungry dog is tempted to visit our yard again.

Pheathers & Project – Feeding Station

After visiting Rocklands Bird Sanctuary/Feeding Station,  I was inspired to create a few new feeding stations of my own.

I found this comment by Tulani from an old post.

“Years ago, I had made a frame (picture frame if you will) & put legs on it 30 inches long….
then I stapled window screening to the frame….
this was my winter time bird feeder.
It’s very easy to make, & it does not have to impress anyone(except you maybe).
the birds will not care a bit what it looks like, they just want to eat their seed to stay healthy & alive.
I never bought the wood I used to make it….I scrounged around town, to find pallets & such, till I had enough wood for what I need….I still scrounge around town for any & all wood projects(woodworking is more of a hobby for me than anything else).
What you can do with this bird feeder after you build it, is limited only by your imagination. Paint it, stain it, leave it unfinished….or decorate it in any fashion you so desire…
Just thought I’d share…. 8 )” ~ Tulani

I followed Tulani’s instructions and scrounged around for some ‘found’ items, and created a frame for larger birds to feed upon.

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I also made use of an old swing with ropes still attached, and hammered a few small nails into the length to anchor down raisins, bread and fruits.

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I soon had my first visitor.

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Quick Tip – Feed the Birds

If you have leftover ice cream cones, thread them with a pipe cleaner or string, fill with bird seed, and place outdoors on a branch or hook. I added a bit of hot glue to the hole I punched in the side so that the hanger would not pull through. An egg carton makes a perfect tray to carry them home. This is a super-easy project to craft with toddlers or Pre-K children.

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Pheathers – Catbird Antics

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I’m partial to catbirds and mockingbirds. I love the way they can sing the song of many other birds. Mockingbirds tend to sit on the highest of trees in my neighborhood. From the top of their world they serenade me with amazing tunes. The catbird has quite a melodic voice too, but what I love best about a certain catbird who visits my yard is his/her ingenuity.

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My catbird has discovered the suet cage I have hanging on a shepherd’s hook in my herb garden. The suet feeder is made for smaller birds, or woodpecker/flicker types that can cling to the bottom and peck out suet from that vantage point. The cage will not allow larger birds or squirrels to get to the treat. The catbird is able to glean a few nibbles from what falls to the ground, but it does not satisfy him, instead it incites him to want, “more, More, MORE!”

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“What’s a catbird to do?” Why learn to hover like a hummingbird of course. This past week I stood at my back window and watched in amazement as this brilliant birdie beat his wings so fast he managed to hover beneath the feeder long enough to grab snippets of suet.

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I had to laugh when he peeked around the side and glared at me as if to say, “Humph, I guess I showed you.” I love my catbirds!

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The Catbird’s Song

Public Video Courtesy of: YouTube – Donna L. Watkins