This home-made suet recipe is a favorite with my backyard birds, including bluebirds. The suet provides a good source of fat and protein to make available when unpredictable harsh weather arrives.
Home-made Peanut Butter Suet
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup lard
Melt together in microwave.
In a large bowl mix the following:
2 cups plain yellow cornmeal (no self-rising additives to meal or flour)
2 cups plain oats
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Stir until well mixed. Add additional flour and/or cornmeal as needed to reach crumble consistency. Allow the mixture to cool and harden. Pack into a square tub to make suet blocks or crumble into small chunks for feeding on a plate. I store in refrigerator but also can be stored at room temperature.
This suet is well liked by bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, wrens, woodpeckers, jays, cardinals, towhees, yellow-rumped warblers and hermit thrushes when served crumbled on a plate or packed into a suet container.
Bluebirds unfamiliar with the crumbled mixture will accept it after encountering it in the same dish with mealworms. Accidental eating of the suet crumbs in the haste to swallow mealworms enables bluebirds to recognize the suet as a tasty food.
This suet dough recipe has been around for many years and is an excellent cold-weather food, rich in fat and protein. Martha Sargent of the Hummer Study Group has been feeding the basic recipe year-round for many years, however, both lard and peanut butter are high in gout causing purines. Julie Zickefoose has raised the question of whether the mixture is too rich with purines to serve to birds during the nesting season.
As a precaution, I limit this food offering to cold weather months when birds need the extra protein and fat to stay warm and replenish fat stores.