The days are getting shorter, and many places are feeling more of a nip in the air. Some birds fly south to warmer temperatures as the last leaves fall from the trees. Others, though, opt to stay put for the winter.
Birds who fly south don’t just love the warm sunshine; they are after insects and live plants that make up the bulk of their diet. However, other birds, like cardinals, rely on seeds to sustain them.
Even seeds can be hard to find during the winter months. That’s why many bird lovers install feeders outside during the cold weather. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a fancy bird feeder, you can make one inexpensively and with minimal effort.
Sarah Ramberg, blogger and creator of Sadie Seasongoods, specializes in upcycling projects. To help keep birds well fed year-round, Ramberg designed a suet feeder using a thrifted coffee mug.
Just what is suet? According to Birds and Blooms, suet is the name for the “raw fat around kidneys and loins, mostly in beef.” This fat gets rendered and then mixed with seeds, fruit or oats to provide a nutrient-rich food for birds. It is then usually molded into solid shapes and shipped to stores.
The supply list for this DIY suet bird feeder is short:
- a suet cake (from your local pet or feed store)
- a coffee mug
- a stick
- some lightweight jewelry wire
- twine or a carabiner
- a saucepan
As part of her upcycling initiative, Ramberg encourages crafters to use a mug from home just sitting in the cupboard or purchase one from a local thrift or Goodwill store.
The hardest part of this process is melting down the suet in the saucepan. It takes a little time and can have an odor that lingers in the kitchen.
Ramberg also provides instructions on making suet if you can’t find any premade cakes in your area — just follow her step-by-step directions. In less than 90 minutes, you can have your coffee mug feeder ready and hung in a tree for hungry birds!
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