Putting out bird seed cakes is a great way to attract all kinds of birds to your yard. Birds especially benefit from bird seed cakes during the winter months, when food sources are more limited. Making your own bird seed cakes is easy and can be done in your own kitchen with some simple ingredients and tools. You can even customize the mixture to attract specific species.
Different birds enjoy different types of seed, so having a good mixture will attract a wide variety of birds to your yard. Sunflower seeds are eaten by many birds and are an excellent choice as a main ingredient. Millet, wheat, thistle seed, cracked corn, safflower seeds and oatmeal are also good choices. You can also purchase loose premixed bird seed from your home improvement store or pet supply store.
Many other animal or vegetable ingredients can be added to a bird seed cake. Dried bread crumbs, cereals, raw nuts, raisins and other dried fruit, and dried, ground meat or cooked, chopped bacon can be incorporated into the mixture to support birds that feed on things other than just seeds. Adding these to your seed cake recipe can help round out the diet of many types of birds and attract a wider range of species to your yard.
Suet and lard are excellent binding agents that can help increase the amount of fat in the diet, providing valuable energy for birds in cold winter months. Suet or lard can be melted, mixed with the other ingredients and then allowed to harden again to form the cake. Suet or lard are not usually recommended during summertime, when they can become rancid and will be refused by most birds.
Peanut butter is also a good choice for a binder and is an excellent source of both fats and proteins. Purchase generic peanut butter to keep the price low and heat the peanut butter to mix it well with the other ingredients.
Egg whites can be used as a binder to produce cakes that will keep better during summer months. Mix the egg whites and seed mixture then bake to harden the cakes.
All of the tools you need to produce your bird seed cakes can be found in your kitchen. A medium-sized saucepan can be used to heat suet or peanut butter. Use a large wooden spoon to mix the seed in well. A plastic bowl is useful with egg white mixtures and oven bags can be used to line molds for baking.
Many different items in your kitchen can act as molds for bird seed cakes. Muffin tins, bread and pie pans and even terra cotta pots and yogurt cups can be used as molds for your seed cakes. For suet and peanut butter cakes, simply press the mixture into the molds as they begin to firm up.
The egg-white-based cakes can be made in molds that are lined with sections cut from oven bags or baking paper to prevent sticking. They can be allowed to cool in the mold, then popped out later when hardened.
In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.