Monday, February 15, 2010

The Bird Girl of Oly-town

Today was the last day of this year's Great Backyard Bird Count. For those of you who don't know my family personally, we have, in the form of a sassy soon-to-be 10 year old girl, a self-described "bird nerd" in the house. She was a penguin this past Halloween, and a big yellow chicken the year before that. We have 7 critters in the house, 6 of whom are birds. She has literally memorized word for word every field guide in the house. The girl likes birds.

Therefore, this bird-centric day was practically Christmas part 2 for my sweet Olivia. She, her little sister and I joined my friend and her son for a leisurely walk through the woods to see and hear who and what was either living in or passing through our home turf. Here is the list of birds that we either saw/heard or both in the wetland meadow and woods near my home, as well as a few that we spotted in the back yard today.

Western Gull - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Steller's Jay - 2
American/Northwestern Crow - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 4
Chestnut-backed Chickadee - 4
Bewick's Wren - 1
American Robin - 2
Spotted Towhee (Pacific) - 2
Fox Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 2
Dark-eyed Junco - 4
House Finch - 2

You think that all of that walking and watching would have been enough bird-filled action for my girl, but nooooo. She wanted to make the birds a snack to boot. Fortunately, I happened to have all of the necessary ingredients on hand to whip up a homemade suet cake. Here's what we used-

1 cup +/- rendered beef fat (from last night's dinner of short ribs)
1 tbsp organic peanut butter
1/4 cup +/- each of cornmeal, unbleached flour, unsalted sunflower seeds, cracked corn & roasted pumpkin seeds (leftover from Halloween)

We mixed the dry ingredients well, while the fat was melting.

Then we slowly added that melted fat & peanut butter to the dry mixture. After combining well, Miss Olivia patted it all firmly into a pie plate to harden.

After about an hour in the freezer, we popped out our "cake" and hung it up in the feeder (made by my darling husband especially for this project) in the cherry tree just outside our picture window.

And there you have a banner day for my little Miss bird nerd and her feathered friends.


  1. Suet cakes is an AWESOME idea!! Go Michelle you're so stinkin' creative! Olivia is adorable, she looks so proud to feed her favorite birdies with her suet cakes :) And wow that's a lot of birds for this time of year, very cool :)

  2. You go girl. My gosh, you're awesome. I LOVE reading your blog. !!!!

  3. très bonne idée j'adore
    bonne soirée

  4. That is awesome!!! Her love of birds will translate into her love of nature. Beautiful.

    I love the homemade suet too.

  5. sounds like fun - i ought to have the kids make that recipe to feed the birds here.....