When we first started feeding the birds, we didn’t realize how much seed they would go through. It is amazing to realize the large volume of food that they can eat here in the summer, and that food seems to disappear almost as fast as I can replace it. I’m not sure if things will get better or worse in the winter, in terms of the amount of bird food consumed and the related expense. But I am concerned.
So, after the last batch of seed was consumed in just a few days, I decided to do some research, as well as some brainstorming of my own, about frugal bird feeding. I wanted to find some alternate ways of feeding the birds without breaking the budget. Here are the results.
Homemade suet is a lot less expensive that the store bought kind. Just mix together a cup each of the following: peanut butter, shortening, flour and also 4 cups of cornmeal. Mix it all together and form a sort of patty. Kids love helping with this, although it can get a little bit messy. Place the homemade suet in your suet feeder and you are all set. Oh, and you should refrigerate any leftovers.
If you don’t want to make your own suet, please don’t buy it at a bird supply or other specialty store. You will spend a fortune. Instead, go to your butcher. You can find a butcher at a neighborhood store or even at the back of your large chain grocery store. Ask the butcher for some beef suet, and you’ll save quite a bit.
Avoid buying a lot of mixed seed. It often containers fillers that the birds won’t eat. Some birds may even toss the filler seed out of the feeder, in an effort to get to the stuff that they like, such as black oil sunflower seeds. Some mixed seed is fine to purchase. Little finches often like smaller seeds. Just read the labels on your package. If “milo” is one of the first or second ingredients, then you want to pass on that purchase.
Another way to save on seed is to go to a speciality store or even a pet store and buy your wild bird seed in bulk. The smaller packages that are sold at “mart” type stores are often overpriced because of the convenience of being able to pick them up right then and there. Plus, those bird food displays are often seasonal and will disappear in the winter.
Do you feed the birds?
Mary Ann Romans also writes for the Computing Blog here at Families.com where she shares everything from the latest news on technology to cool downloads and fun websites.