Don Cassidy

Lures attract fish. Lures too, can attract birds for us to appreciate and digitally capture and release.  

In our quest to draw a greater variety of winter birds in Brady Heights, contemplation was needed:   was it best to stick with one choice, or should one try something else every now and then? My thoughts regarding suet cakes moved in this direction. Should I stick with manufactured suet cakes, or turn our kitchen into a suet factory of sorts?  Buying suet cakes in a wire suet cage was easy.  Was it the healthiest choice, or could I manufacture the high-energy food source for cold-weather birds using choice ingredients, and present it in more natural-looking suet holders?  

Elaine Cassidy

Bring it on!

I came upon a website ( that provided a solution for my challenge. All of the ingredients seemed to be very tasty in and of themselves except the lard. These birds will get a treat!  Simply called “Homemade Wild Bird Suet” on the website, the recipe was easy to assemble and execute. Using a 1/2 cup of lard, 2 cups of oats, 2 cups of chunky peanut butter,  1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of raisins and 1 cup of wild bird seed, I had the ingredients ready to blend.  

I combined the lard, oats, peanut butter, and sugar in a large pot, heating the mix to a low boil. This was allowed to simmer, letting the magic mixture thicken. Then I added in the raisins. Once the pot was off the stove, I tossed in the wild bird seed, mixing it well.  

Normally, the mixture is tossed into a freezer to harden, then cut into suet cakes as desired; or it can be poured into the plastic packages of storebought suet. After hardening the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes, it was ready for use.  

Having found birch tree deadfall branches, I drilled large holes into some deadfall birch branches I had found. I used a large hook with one heavy birch log, and smaller hooks for the lighter branch lengths.  With holes drilled, it was then simply a matter of stuffing each hole with my homemade suet. Once they were strategically hung in the front and back yards for photography purposes, it was a joy waiting for a potpourri of birds to enjoy the concoction. Chickadees, flickers, sparrows and three kinds of woodpeckers adorned the new suet sources and the camera shutter clicked!  

Sensational, seasonal suet success was ours!   

A peanut butter double. ELAINE CASSIDY
Chickadee on suet. ELAINE CASSIDY
Double suet cake and cage. ELAINE CASSIDY
Flicker on suet cake. ELAINE CASSIDY
Hairy woodpecker on long suet. ELAINE CASSIDY