Birdseed mixes can be purchased at many grocery stores or pet stores but many of the inexpensive mixes contain large amounts of millet which many birds will not eat. Rather than wasting your money on store-bought birdseed only to have half the mix discarded by your local birds, try mixing up your own blends that feathered visitors will appreciate.
Birdseed mixes can easily be created at home by blending different types of seeds, dried fruits, nuts and oats. This will allow you to monitor the bird feeder and determine the favourite foods of your local birds. Any item that is consistently discarded or left behind can be omitted the next time you mix a batch. Avoid using any items that will mould quickly, such as fresh fruit or baked goods, as consuming mould could make the birds ill. Black sunflower seeds are popular among many types of wild birds including sparrows, jays, doves and chickadees. Peanuts are also popular although it is important to only use roasted peanuts. Raw peanuts may contain toxins which can be harmful to birds, according to the Oregon State University Extension Service.
During the winter months, insect-eating birds often have difficulty finding insects which provide them with animal fats they need for energy. Help these birds by providing suet cakes. Suet is animal fat which can be purchased from butcher shops and some grocery stores. Combine approximately 236ml / 8oz of suet with 6 cups of water in a large pot. Heat the mixture until it boils and then remove it from the heat. Stir in 2 cups cornmeal and 1/2 cup flour. At this point, the suet is ready to pour into moulds, but you can also add seeds, nuts, dried fruits or oatmeal if you want. When you are happy with the ingredients, pour the mixture into muffin tins and allow to harden. This recipe will make approximately 18 suet cakes, depending on how far you fill the muffin tins. Suet may melt and rot during hot summer months, so save these treats for the winter when birds really need them.