Watching, Attracting and Feeding Birds in New York
with Sam Crowe
Suet - my favorite food choice
Suet, or a similar offering, is my favorite choice for feeding birds. Suet is the hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep, and other animal. It is usually feed to birds in the form of a suet cake, about 6 inches square.
Suet cakes are usually offered in a simple wire frame. The frame can usually be purchased at a local big box store (Walmart, Target etc.) along with pre-packaged suet cakes. The cage can usually be purchased for a couple of bucks, same for the suet cakes. Suet is the only bird food I recommend purchasing from one of the big box stores.
A commercial suet cake.
You can also make your own suet-based food.
Homemade Birdie Treat
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
- 1 1/2 cups corn meal
- 3 to 4 cups wild bird seed - black oil sunflower or mix
- 3 cups rendered* suet
Add the first three ingredients into the rendered suet. Freeze in a cake or pie pan, cut into serving pieces as needed and put in a suet basket.
*Suet is usually available free from a local butcher. To render suet, melt it over low heat in heavy pan, cool, reheat and cool again. While it's in its melted state, add other ingredients.
If rendering suet is not your cup of tea, it can be omitted from the above recipes. The mixture will not form a cake but can be spread on trees or placed in holes. Simply take a board or section of a dead branch and drill holes into the wood. Fill the holes with the peanut butter mix and watch the birds flock to it.
Suet attracts a large variety of species, including: Mockingbirds, nuthatches, wrens, finches, jays and some warblers.
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Care and Cleaning Your Binoculars
Take care of your birding binoculars for best image
Proper care and cleaning of your binoculars will help insure the best image and longest life.
Keeping the lenses clean and scratch free is the best way to maintain the quality of the image you see when using your binoculars. Use care when cleaning your binoculars.
Clean the lenses with a lens cloth or lens paper. Cleaning fluid especially designed for precision optics is inexpensive and readily available. Avoid cleaning the lenses with a paper towel or shirttail. While they may appear soft, their use will hasten the removal of critical lens coatings.
Cleaning kits for cameras work well for cleaning the lenses of your binoculars.