Above: Suet is a welcome cold weather treat for birds. Photos courtesy of Pixabay.

While everyone is gearing up for the holidays and spending more time indoors, don’t forget about our feathered friends outdoors. The winter season is harder for birds because there are less food choices for them. If you’d like to give your backyard birds something for the cooler weather, suet is one of their favorite treats.

Suet is important for birds in the winter because it has some fats that help keep them fed when nuts and berries are scarce.

Making suet is pretty simple. It’s a fun activity that the whole family can do together.

A good suet recipe includes:

  • cornmeal
  • Crisco
  • peanut butter
  • bird seed
  • and shelled sunflower seeds.

Stir the ingredients together until the mixture has a thick consistency. It should work with room temperature Crisco and peanut butter, but you can warm up those ingredients if you need to soften them.

For a standard square shape, use a flat cake pan and refrigerate the suet to harden it. Then you can cut it into squares. (Freeze any leftover suet to keep it fresh for later.)

You can get creative and spoon the suet mixture into cookie cutters before cooling it. The suet will keep the shape of the cookie cutter as long as it’s cold enough outside.

The best way to share your suet with your backyard birds is by putting it in a wire suet cage. This keeps the suet in the container and gives the birds some wire to stand on when eating it. Suet cages are easy to find at nature stores, pet shops and wherever bird seed is sold.

Hang your suet shapes outside when it’s cold and enjoy watching your neighborhood birds as they gobble up the treat you’ve made for them.

Sarah E. Brodd

Sarah E. Brodd is a Natural Resource Agent for UGA Extension in DeKalb County.