Your teeth chatter and fingers turn blue as you run from the car into the warmth and shelter of your home, where you grab a hot cup of soup and nestle into a comfortable chair. Wildlife get cold too--and they can also starve when the temperature drops, the ground freezes and the food nature usually provides is nowhere to be found.
Count your blessings and share them by feeding the wildlife in your yard this winter.
Easy Home-Made Suet for Hungry Wild Birds, Squirrels and Bunnies
Melt 1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup vegetable shortening over a low heat
Stir in 2 cups quick oats, 2 cups cornmeal, 1 cup flour
Add some raisins and/or unsalted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Pour into a baking pan, chill
Then cut into pieces--some tiny for small birds, larger ones for squirrels and big birds--and leave on the ground or in plates, shallow baking pans or even frisbees. OR Form into squares, chill and place in suet cages, and hang from tree limbs or a shepherd's hook. (But reserve some for ground-feeding birds and squirrels.)
It's a good idea to divide the suet (and wildlife fast food, below) between several "feeding stations" so the smaller birds and animals will get their fair share.
This suet will give critters the calories and fat they need to stay full and warm in the bitter cold. And no other animals will be hurt in the making of it!
You can prepare lots of batches and freeze them, then simply defrost and serve when you don't have time to cook, or...
Pressed for Time? Wildlife Fast Food Place the following on the ground as well as in bird feeders. Dividing it between a couple of "feeding stations" is best.
Wild bird seed--get it at the grocery store, pet stores, big box stores and online
Cracked or whole corn kernals for wildlife--found mostly in pet stores and online (include some seeds and/or peanuts with the corn for the extra calories and fat wildlife need in the winter)
Unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds
Unsalted, shelled peanuts
Don't Forget the Bunnies At sundown, leave a banana and an apple, cut into small pieces, on the ground for bunnies; they're most active at dusk (and later) and again at dawn.
BONUS! Because you love your cat, you keep him or her safely indoors year-round. Kitty will enjoy watching critters scamper for food strategically placed outside a favorite window. Sort of like live theater.