Just because eating fatty foods goes straight to your hips is no reason to deprive hungry birds from this high-energy food. By saving your bacon fat and pan drippings, and mixing it with common household staples and a few seeds, you can make bird food balls to attract your feathered friends. With one basic recipe, you can tailor the final product to meet the preferences of birds in your area.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 2 cups fat (solid)
- 1 to 2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup cracked corn or nut pieces
- Mixed birdseed
- Wire coat hanger
- Onion/citrus bag (optional)
Melt fat in a saucepan over medium heat. Bacon grease with bits of bacon, drippings from roast beef or poultry, or any other solid fat can be used. Supplement the drippings with lard or solid vegetable shortening, if necessary.
Remove from heat once the fat has melted. Allow to cool slightly.
Stir in enough cornmeal to make a thick dough that forms a ball when stirred.
Add seeds or nuts to the mixture. Hulled sunflower seeds, millet, cracked corn or wild birdseed mixtures make good choices. Add dried fruit at this time, if desired. Reserve ½ to ¾ cup of seeds.
Allow the mixture to cool until it can be worked with the hands. Form the birdseed mixture into a ball. Roll the ball in the rest of the birdseed, pressing lightly to secure seeds on the outside of the ball.
Bend one end of a wire coat hanger to create an "L." Insert the coat hanger through the ball so the bent end rests on the bottom of the ball and the straightened end protrudes through the top. Gently bend the top of the coat hanger to form a hook.
Allow the ball to harden completely. Hang from a tree branch to entice birds to your yard.
Tips and warnings
- Omit the coat hanger and place the birdseed ball in a recycled onion or citrus bag. Tie securely and hang from a hook. Now, if the ball cracks or crumbles, sections are held securely in the bag.
- Add 1 tbsp of peanut butter to the melted fat for added flavour.
- Leftover dry cereal made from whole grains can be crushed and used for all or part of the cornmeal.
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