I know a certain birder who puts all manner of things out for the birds: He’s got a big suet cage into which he can crush the carcass of his Thanksgiving turkey! And I’ve got very little literature that proscribes certain kinds of bird food possibilities.
Still, I feel a little perverse when I think about the food I’ve been putting out lately (which BTW the woodpeckers and chickadees are perfectly willing to eat). Am I going to become ground zero for the outbreak of some new exotic animal disease created by Frankensteinian feeding the wild fauna with factory farmed flesh? (I’ve really gotta get over the alliteration thing.)
My leftover Thanksgiving ham made it into a couple of forms of animal feed. Ham-lollies – pieces of ham in a suet cage – weren’t so successful although I do see the Chickadees pecking at some now and then. Chopped ham with sunflower seeds, some bacon fat & a Dollarama suet cake*** has gone over much better: it brought Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers around almost everyday and now the last of it is in the suet log hanging off the front porch.
I was looking through the freezer on the w/e and there in the back I found a package of breakfast sausage which had turned a very unnatural gray-green-brown: Best Before Aug. 2007. So I cooked the shit outta those – hopefully quite literally – and put them back into the freezer.
Today I took them out and, with some difficulty,*** gottem ground up. Now, in the absence of Dollarama suet*** I wasn’t sure if I could make a mix that would hold together enough. Though it being winter and all, firmness requirements are pretty low. First I had to say to myself, “gunna need a bigger bowl’.
Into the bowl went ground sausage … coupla handfuls of Black Oil Sunflower seeds … handful of cat food the cats won’t eat … big spatula load of crunchy peanut butter (I winced, “Kraft Crunchy for bird food, why don’t I have cheap no name PB for this?”) … 2 coffee cups full of fat and cracklings collected on the counter. Much mixing.
After the kitchen cleanup I had to wash my hands like three times to get the sausage and bacon smell off of me.
The results look good and I anticipate the Woodpeckers approval.
Otherwise it was a bit of an interesting bird day. Of course, there have been Chicakdees aplenty. (It always seems that they are very active around a big snowfall like we are having now.)
Weird and likely to have a sad ending, the Grackle with the bum wing that had been around at the beginning of last week suddenly flew up from the Dogwood below the front porch when I was out to get the mail. He’s flying better obviously as he got himself up 30′ into the Poplar. I came back inside the house; Grackle descended to below the porch. So, I put on lots of clothes for hopping through knee-deep snow, put on light gloves, grabbed a fleece blanket off the couch and went out to try to catch the bird. He sensed me pretty quickly and by the time I came out of hiding at the side of the house by the porch, he’d flown across the front yard to the Cedar at the far side of the house. Then he flew off across the street and over the creek with what appeared to be little effort. Still, he should be long gone and I have to wonder if he’d survive even if he left RFN.
Less dramatic, a pair of Goldfinches were around. Still, it’s not like I see them every day.
***Sure, what’s actually going to happen is I’m going to kill the birds with Melamine tainted suet, assuming that it comes from China like everything else in Dollarama.
***I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but this kind of prep at home has cost me a number of appliances or gadgets.
***No really pressing need to pick more up as at least 2 of the 4(!) suet cages in and around the yard still a good deal in ’em.