All year is "suet time".
Birds who have a diet higher in insects than seeds eat this. At my place, it is eaten by Titmouse, Chickadee, Cardinal, and even House and Purple Finches. Birds who eat this and seldom eat seeds are Jays, Mocking Birds, all Warblers, Woodpeckers, Hatches, etc.
About the only birds who do not care for it are Gold Finch and Sparrows.
What is suet?
Suet is the raw, hard fat of beef or mutton found around the loins and kidneys.
Like all critters, birds need protein, fat, and carbs.
For decades I have read to ask you butcher for some suet. I never have. Decades ago I went through a lot of the store bought cakes, but where I live now, birds ignore that even though I always have a cake of it out. My birds are spoiled.
What I use is not "suet", I just call it that. It serves the same purpose.
My birds prefer it. In Winter months when insects are less, it goes fast. I use a peanut butter mix. All us critter like peanut butter.
For decades I have read many recipes people use. They are legion. I am going to tell you what works from experience, not a repeat of a repeat of a web or magazine article written by some "so called" expert.
I mix mine in a 10 gallon pot I once used to make beer (before I got a bigger one for the beer). This stuff keeps for months if done right, so making a lot works for me. You can of course make it in small batches. That is the better way to go at first.
In Winter it can have more oil, in Summer not as much. Experience will help you in your climate. I like mine to be as rich as possible, not a hard cake.
The deal for me is to give my birds some actual nourishment as they show up to entertain me. They deserve it.
People add in all sorts of seeds and etc in their "special" recipes. Don't do that. This is not about "you" being clever, but about feeding the birds. Seeds are already hard for birds to crack, making them slippery does not help. The "always" better way is not to mix any bird foods, but to offer different foods in different feeders. The bags of mixed seeds at the store are to attract you, not the birds.
Mixed seeds invite waste as birds dig for the one they want.
Throwing seeds, raisins, and WTF into your suet mix makes no sense.
Don't do it.
A good "suet mix" is peanut butter, corn meal, and flour. You need nothing more. I used to add lard, but seldom do not now. Lard is OK to use, but more peanut butter is better. At Amazon, Walmart, etc, you can find bulk buys to cut the co$t. I buy crunchy as it seems to be thicker with less oil.
Putting out pure peanut butter is OK. The problem is cost, and it is too oily.
Add in corn meal and you are good to go. For the hot Summer Time, add in some flour to harden it some. A good beginning ratio to start with is around 1:1 peanut butter to corn meal. That is a great, healthy mix for the birds. Most times of the year you will need some flour or more corn meal. I was raised on corn meal, beans, and peanut butter, it is good stuff. Maybe beans would be good for me try? I guess there is no need to fix it if it aint broke.
Open a large jar of crunchy peanut butter and microwave until liquid. Pour it in your pot over low heat and stir in cornmeal (add flour if needed for warmer weather).
After some cooling so the container don't melt, pour in to very clean (from the dish washer) tupper ware type plastic bowls. It will keep for months.
The birds are attracted to this much more than those store bought "suet cakes". It is no contest.
I make it up about twice a year. More is eaten in Winter as are all bird foods.
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I once found a quick mix for fun at Christmas. Make up a few bird cakes to give to your friends (and your birds) this Christmas. I have made them many times at Christmas and will again. It is quick and easy. You can eat them too.
You need a muffin tin and some cupcake papers.
- one cup lard (or shorting)
- 2 cups crunchy peanut butter
- 4 cups corn meal
- Melt together as I wrote above and pour into the tin.
- sprinkle things on top to make them colorful. I use seeds and berries from the yard.
- Place in refrigerator.
Here a photo of some of mine ->