Suet is an important winter food for insectivorous birds; it provides the fat and energy they need to survive the cold weather.
It can be purchased raw from a butcher, rendered following the instructions below, and molded using any convenient form -- muffin tins, cans, or food-storage containers. Here are instructions for making five feeders.
Birdseed and Suet Feeder How-To
1. To render suet, finely chop two pounds of it, and heat it in a large saucepan over medium heat until it liquefies. Strain through fine cheesecloth into a bowl. Let cool until it hardens. Heat and strain suet again to ensure that it will cake properly when mixed with birdseed.
2. Mix together 5 pounds mixed wild birdseed, 2 pounds rendered suet, 1 pound dried cranberries, and 1 pound raw peanuts (shelled). Firmly pack mixture into five 1-quart plastic take-out containers, placing a loop of twine down the center of each, for hanging.
3. Freeze until hard, at least 2 hours or overnight. Unmold, and hang each using twine loops.
Birdseeds, from Cole's Wild Bird Products, 877-426-8882.