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Posts Tagged ‘Birdwatching’

Because our family decided to exchange homemade gifts this year & because we are avid birders, I decided to try my hand at making bird seed cakes. It turned out to be a great success. The basics of this recipe are lard, peanut butter & cornmeal. Other ingredients may be added as you choose. (In addition, I also tried my hand at doggie treats. Stay tuned…that will be up next in this space.)

This is the recipe I used originally – as printed in Birds & Blooms Magazine.

Bird Cupcakes

1 Cup Shortening

2 Cups Chunky Peanut Butter

Melt these together for approximately 1 minute in the microwave.

Mix in 5 cups of Cornmeal.

Fill cupcake tins and top with your choice of nuts, birdseed or dried berries. Cool in the refrigerator. To give as a gift, arrange on a plate or stack and then wrap in cellophane. (I placed several in one of my homemade baskets & put cellophane over the whole thing.) Attach a recipe card so your recipient can make more. Add a bow & you have an instant gift!

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Our birds did not take to this right away. So when I made it the second time, I made these changes & now they’ve been arguing over it. ;-)

1 cup lard

2 cups chunky peanut butter

4 cups cornmeal

2/3 C. Sunflower Seeds

2/3 C. Thistle Seeds

Melt the lard and peanut butter. Add the cornmeal & stir to mix. Add the birdseed & mix well.

Fill cupcake pans that have liners. Cool cupcakes in refrigerator or freezer. If the mixture hardens in your microwave safe bowl, it may be reheated to soften. I have also put the mixture in plastic trays that were saved from purchased suet cakes. That works quite well also.  One of the reasons for using cupcakes is that you can easily sit them around in various places on your patio or in your yard.

And as you can see, the birds now really like them – they were especially popular during our last snow storm.  :-)

So something that started out to be about making homemade gifts for family turned into a good deed for our birds. I think we’ll branch out now and try some new and different recipes.  Here’s a list of things you can use from A Home for Wild Birds.

  • Raisins or Currants
  • Dates
  • Shelled peanuts
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Birdseed mix
  • Black oil sunflower seeds
  • Molds to shape your creations
  • String or yarn
  • Lard, shortening or rendered suet
  • Crunchy peanut butter
  • Molasses
  • Oatmeal
  • Stale bread, breadcrumbs or crackers
  • Cornmeal or cornbread mix
  • Cream of wheat
  • Graham crackers
  • Flour (whole wheat flour preferred)

Have fun! Your birds will thank you.  :-)

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Have you ever noticed how many bird sayings there are?

  • Strictly for The Birds
  • Bird Brained
  • Birds of a Feather
  • A Birds Eye View
  • Free as a Bird
  • A Little Birdie Told Me
  • Wise as An Owl (I like that one!)

I’m sure that’s not all of them, but you get the picture. And do you know why there are so many bird sayings?

Me either. But here are some birds got our attention on yesterday’s road trip to Salt Plains State Park.

  • Black Necked Stilt
  • Bald Eagle
  • Little Blue Heron
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper
  • Avocet
  • Least Sandpipers
  • Stilt Sandpiper
  • Roadrunner
  • Northern Harrier Hawk
  • White Faced Ibis

Yesterday was a day that was strictly for the birds!

American Avocet

American Avocet

Roadrunner

Roadrunner

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I would. A return trip to the Arkansas River last night proved that. There were over a thousand gathered & resting along the banks – such an amazing sight. And today, on a drive to a nearby city – some 70 miles, many more were observed in a large rural, road side pond.  There had to be over a thousand on that pond and hundreds more in the sky, who had rested and were moving on. I’ve read reports that there are over 30,000 at Great Salt Plains in northwestern Oklahoma. Sounds like a trip over there is in order very soon!

The American White Pelican, one of two species of pelicans in North America, is one of the world’s largest birds.  They can weigh as much as 30 pound and have wingspans that can reach 110 inches. Adult birds are primarily white except for its black-edged wings that are visible in flight. It has a long neck, a long, flattened orange bill with an expandable pouch and short orange legs with big webbed feet.

It was an incredible day of bird discovery and sightings. Some of these we normally only see on the Texas gulf coast.

  • American White Pelicans
  • Ibis (White Faced I think)
  • Several Sandpipers
  • Osprey (!!) In a tree top in a rural area among fields…no water for several miles. Completely fantastic and strange sighting.
  • Cormorants
  • Snowy Egrets
  • Great White Egrets
  • Various Ducks
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Kildeer
  • Plus the normal doves, sparrows, blackbirds, etc.

Seriously an incredible day of viewing…and that wasn’t even the goal for the day.  But it was the icing!

Plethora, I tell you…..plethora!

A few of the thousands of American White Pelicans ascend from a pond in north central Oklahoma, on September 16, 2009.

A few of the thousands of American White Pelicans ascend from a pond in north central Oklahoma, on September 16, 2009.

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