Wednesday, February 13, 2013

These Dang Birds Are Like Toddlers

You know how hard it sometimes is to get toddlers to try new foods?  I was having the same trouble with our wild bird life and something "new" I've slipped into their hanging log feeder.


I've had some rendered lard that has celebrated several birthdays in the bottom of my freezer and I was about to toss it when I wondered if the birds would like it in this cold weather.

I went to the handy-dandy, know everything Internet and checked to see if feeding them lard would be sending them to an early grave and was pleased to find that it's just fine for them and shouldn't clog their little arteries or do other deadly damage.

I did remember that long ago, in a different place and time, I used to fill the peanut butter hanging feeder with half peanut butter and half melted beef suet.  This lard I have is from butchered pigs and it's lovely, pure white stuff but has just enough of a "flavor" that I don't care for when I use it to make pie crusts.  So it has languished in my freezer for long enough and that's why I decided to offer it to the birds.

Well, said (ungrateful) birds cleaned out all the holes I filled with peanut butter twice now, but didn't seem to get the idea that the white stuff is good for them.  I even mixed some sunflower seeds in with the lard thinking that would entice them to try this new taste treat.

But, now, I think I've finally (possibly) found a solution to get them to dip their little beaks into the lard and give it a try.

The last time I had the feeder in to fill, I smeared a light peanut butter coating over the holes filled with lard.  And look!


See those little beak marks on the lard?  And the fact that nearly all the peanut butter is gone so they've started eating the lard?


And even though some holes still have plenty of peanut butter for them to eat . . . 


This hole that was full of lard is well on its way to being devoured!

Now if they continue to clean out the lard filled holes, I can consider myself smarter than the average chickadee.  (It's the little things in life that count, right?)

21 comments:

Susan said...

I usually find that the chickadees are the most adventurous - they're always first. But they DO distrust anything new. And such a wonderful, lovely treat for them! They can use that fat to keep them warm. You're pretty crafty....

Nancy said...

I love your feeder. I gottah make one ;-)
Birds can be picky can't they. You seemed to solve the problem though.

Sparkless said...

Don't you just love it when you can outwit wildlife. Great idea to get your birds to try something new. Now if it only worked with kids I'd be in business.

Michelle said...

Smart thinking. Lets just hope they don't get tired of peanut butter.

LindaCO said...

You are totally smarter than the average chickadee. More persistent too!

Freedom Acres Farm said...

Could you have used the lard for soap?? I render beef & venison tallow and use it in soap and its divine! But... the birds love you so it's all good :-)

Carolyn said...

You really need to take better care of your feathered wildlife. Lard with sunflower seeds and peanut butter is just horrible. I'm not surprised they went on strike. You should really invest in some real gourmet food for them so they won't have to suffer through this "slop" you're giving them. (BIG eye roll)

PS- I wonder if I can get Rhiannon to eat her beans if I shoved them in a log.

Kelly said...

Smart thinking!!! Your feeder is really neat too!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - Glad to report they're pretty well "into" the lard now. Fast learners? Kinda.

Mama Pea said...

Nancy - You could whip one of these feeders (or six!) with no trouble at all.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - Ya, well, I'm afraid the kids have "minds of their own" and a bit more brain power than these little bird brains!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - I don't think there's any danger of them getting tired of peanut butter. We feed so much of it, I really would be ahead if I bought some cheap birdseed (not all sunflower seeds) to mix in with the peanut butter.

Mama Pea said...

LindaCO - Thanks! To that I say, "Dee-dee-deeeee!" :o]

Mama Pea said...

Freedom Acres Farm - I have to confess I've never got into soap making. I have a good friend who generously supplies us with the soap (wonderful stuff) she makes. But, dummy me, why haven't I offered the lard to her? Many thanks for the knock in the noggin'!

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - I KNOW (she says hanging her head), I'm a really baaaad bird mother. I was going to make them a pan of fresh cornbread with some homemade cranberry jelly this morning, but I laid on the couch eating bon-bons instead. Now I feel sooooo bad!

P.S. I can almost guarantee if you stuffed beans in a cute little log feeder, Rhiannon would eat them all up lickety-split.

Mama Pea said...

Kelly - Thank you, ma'am!

Leigh said...

That's so funny. I know my chickens are never convinced about anything new I bring. I reckon wild birds are the same way. Once they get the taste for it they should appreciate the extra hardy calories this time of year.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - I've been baking some squash that is no longer keeping well and then giving it to the chickens. The first time we gave it to them, they acted like it was a dangerous predator going to do them in!

Lisa said...

What I love about this post, other than the humor of Mama Pea outsmarting the birds in the end with a cool feeder to boot :)..... is how you show that even the lowly lard in the bottom of the freezer that has gone bad (for human consumption) can be used for the better good of 'others' and not simply thrown away. Terrific idea Mama Pea! Those little birds have probably never eaten so well and now they'll have stored up all sorts of good energy to make it through the rest of the winter.

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - You couldn't be more right about our birds never have eaten so well! I cringe every time we have to buy another bag of sunflower seeds. At least the squirrels seem to be mostly hibernating for the winter . . . they always ate more than their fair share of the sunflower seeds when they were around.

Erin said...

Those are some well fed birds!