Bring on the Birds!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Hello! This is Zoe again. I have returned from attending the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Maine, from whence I come a new and, I believe, better person. 

Bluebirds, charming, cheerful songbirds that frequent farms, parks, and neighborhoods, are one of the pleasures of the warmer months. Since bluebirds primarily eat insects, North Star Orchard has erected birdhouses for them, and two types of swallows, the Purple Martin and the Tree Swallow, as natural pest control. It is a mutually gratifying arrangement: the farm is rid of problem insects and the birds get a home rich in food.

Homeowners can attract bluebirds as well. Although they do not eat the standard birdseed that sparrows and finches like, bluebirds love suet—especially a mix we call Miracle Meal. The basic recipe is one part flour to three parts yellow cornmeal, with lard and crunchy peanut butter added until the mixture may be rolled into firm balls. (Peanut butter may be omitted in the case of a peanut allergy.) During summer, you may want to reduce the proportion of lard and peanut butter to prevent excessive melting. Peanut hearts, fruit, and sunflower chips may be added at your discretion. Balls of Miracle Meal may be hung in fruit net bags (such as those in which oranges are sold) or pressed into suet cake molds and placed in suet feeders, as well as spread on railings and trees. However, be advised that squirrels and raccoons are very fond of suet and, given the chance, will consume it!