Feathered friends and winter wildlife

Somewhere online I read an article on feeding birds throughout winter, and the ornithologist suggested it’s more beneficial to us (humans) than it is for the birds.

That’s likely true!

Like many people, I don’t offer food to wildlife spring through fall, (well, except for hummingbirds & the local fox kits), but it does feel wonderful to witness a few feathered friends during the dark depths of winter, when most others have migrated to warmer climes.

Perhaps it just feels good to think we’re nurturing wildlife in some small way. πŸ™‚

Along with birdseed, seed heads from perennial plants left uncut in the fall will provide food and shelter for all kinds of birds and small creatures during winter.

A few examples of these plants include echinacea, asters, rudbeckia, and ornamental grasses.

Not only is this uncut fodder great for wildlife, it’s nice to have some structure in the garden over the winter when everything else is hiding out until spring. Ornamental grasses look especially lovely covered in fresh fallen snow.

The temperature has now dipped well below zero, (currently -14 Celsius).

Combine that with a blanket of snow, (not quite as much in that photo below -> last winter), I do think it’s time to make some suet for the hardy wee birds who choose to stick around all year, so I can enjoy watching them gather outside my window.



DIY – Making suet balls to feed our feathered friends!

Feeding our feathered friends in winter can be fun, easy, and economical when you create your own homemade suet balls! Β 

Suet balls blog 1Ingredients:

-1 pound lard or fat
– 3/4 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup flour
– 1/4 cup cornmeal
– 1 cup sugar
– approximately half a loaf of bread crumbs
– 1-1/2 cups of mixed seeds, nuts and chopped dried fruits



Chickadee at Wall Flower Studio - copyright Karen SloanMelt the lard and peanut butter over low heat.Β Mix flour, cornmeal, and sugar and stir in.
-Add enough bread crumbs to absorb all liquid.
-Add fruit, seeds, and nuts as desired.
-Pour into a 9 x 5β€³ bread pan (lined with plastic wrap), or pour into suet cake molds.(molds can be saved from store-bought suet.)Β -Allow to cool completely.
-Keep refrigerated or in a cool place like a basement.

One batch makes about four cakes.

WhenΒ you’re snowed in, (as many of us were last week here in Ontario), why not create a treat for the birds?! Kids love to help with this too – Have fun!