Recipes from 2001

Gorp

The original Gorp recipe posted in Wild Bird Digest can be found in the post, FAQ from 2001.

From: Shelly (Auburn AL) peanut butter “gorp” recipe

  • 1 part each of peanut butter (smooth or chunky), Crisco, and flour (I usually use whole wheat)
  • 3 parts corn meal
  • optional stuff like seed, raisins, nuts, etc… can be added, but my birds inhale it like this so I’ve never felt a need to add other stuff!

Just mix with a fork or pastry cutter until well blended. It has no lard or animal grease to rot, and even in a Southeastern US summer, if not placed in direct sun, it holds its shape pretty well. It can be molded into pine cones or wood with holes in it.

I put it out in “chunks” on my platform feeders too and the mockers, thrashers, Carolina wrens, yellow-rumped warblers, cardinals, robins, blue jays, (you get the picture!!) all love it.

In cooler weather I just leave it in a Tupperware container out on my screened in porch. When it gets to be really hot, I do bring it inside just to make sure the peanut butter doesn’t get too liquid and make it too mushy to handle.

From: Peg

I read [the BirdWatcher’s Digest] recipe and I use almost the same ingredients except I use:

  • wheat flour instead of white
  • and also add raisins if I have them
  • and in spring, I add grape jelly

From: Cindy (Ohio)

  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Melt all and mix, add raisins if you want, or bird seed and sunflower seeds. I then put it in a regular wire suet feeder and also put in holes in 2 log feeders. I have to fill the 2 log feeders every day, they eat so much! They love it.

From: Katherine (Weston, MA)

  • I feed lard, which I alternate/mix with commercial suet, peanut butter, seed, and eggshell.
  • I generally smear it in the nooks and crannies of a piece of driftwood which I hang from a tree. It gets woodpeckers, nuthatches, and chickadees, primarily.
  • Sometimes I smear it on the bark of an oak tree right around my house; and then it gets squirrels, Carolina wrens, and the occasional brown creeper.

From: Ron

  • I buy large eight-pound tubs of lard at Wal-Mart to get a good price. It can be stored without refrigeration, this is a plus since it soft and easy to work with.
  • I take a large margarine tub and place lard in it
  • and then add a few spoons of peanut butter.
  • I place this in the microwave until it is melted and then stir in a mixture of hulled sunflower, other small seeds, and some corn meal.
  • This mixture when soft is quite easy to handle. I keep this in the refrigerator covered and whenever I need some, nuke it till it is soft and load the log.
  • I have also tried melting it to the point where I can take a spoon full and pour it into the hole. By the way, I take the log down and do this laying on its side. I find the hard seeds give the birds more of a challenge and they can’t clean the holes out as fast.

From: Jay, Cordova, Alaska

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup birdseed

In a microwave safe bowl mix first five ingredients and microwave on high 3-5 min. Stir in birdseed. Cool and press into sandwich size plastic container. Stick in fridge. Once it sets up, put into suet feeder. The birds will go nuts. Squirrels like it too – drat them!

From: Janet, Hurricane, WV

I will guarantee that you will get birds with this. If the raisins don’t bring mockingbirds in, I will be surprised!

  • 1 cup lard
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1/3 cup sugar plus a handful of raisins, nut meats, and mixed bird seed

Melt the lard and the peanut butter. Mix well and add other ingredients. Pack into feeder-sized containers. Freeze until you need them; then defrost and use. I get five cakes from this recipe and use only the cheapest ingredients. I use the old store-bought suet-feeder cake containers to put the stuff in.

Feathered Friends Corn Bread

From: Peg, Legend Lake, WI

  • 2/3 C cooking grease or vegetable oil
  • 3 C cornmeal
  • 1 C flour (I’ll use wheat)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 ½ C milk
  • 1 C chopped nuts

Mix well. Spread into well-greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Cut to fit suet feeder or put in mesh bag.

Bird Bread

From: Peg, Legend Lake, WI

  • 2 C Bisquick
  • 2 C corn meal
  • 1 C wheat flour
  • 2 TBS baking powder
  • 4 eggs (can include shells)
  • 3 six-oz jars of pureed fruit or baby food (any flavor) 
  • Additional items
    • cheese
    • nuts
    • peanut butter
    • chopped fruit

Heavily grease 9 x 13 pan. Mix dry ingredients together well. Add eggs and baby food. Stir until evenly moist. Batter will be very thick and heavy. Pour into pan. Bake 40 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool.

Home-made Seed Bell

From: Peg, Legend Lake, WI

  • small terra cotta pots
  • microwave-safe plastic wrap or plastic oven bags
  • length of firm wire (like coat-hanger)
  • birdseed
  • 2 egg whites per cup of birdseed

Beat egg whites until white and fluffy, but still liquid. Prepare pots by lining them with the wrap or oven bag. (One oven bag will line two pots.) Bend the end of the wire that goes into the seed bell into a closed loop. 

Mix beaten egg whites and birds seed in bowl until all seed is coated, then spoon the mix into the prepared pots, patting it down firmly. Push the uncoiled end of the wire through center of mix in pot and then out of the drainage hole until looped end rests flat on top of mixture, then push loop slightly into mixture.

Place on an oven shelf set high enough to allow wire to hang free. Cook at 225 degrees for 60-90 minutes. The important things is not to burn the mixture and slow cooking is needed to set it firmly.

Remove from pots when still warm (careful, wire is hot).

HINT: If you use large seed in your mixture, the widest part of the bell which is exposed during cooking will become slightly crumbly. This only happens for a centimeter or two. If you want to avoid this, spoon mixture into pot leaving a few centimeters and mix some seed with another egg white to fill up the last centimeter and cook as usual.

More Hints from Louise, Southern Alabama: 

  • Six egg whites will hold enough seeds to make 10 bells.
  • Terra cotta herb pots made the prettiest bell shapes but didn’t work any better than the small paper cups.
  • Aluminum foil works better than plastic – easier to shape to fit in the pots/cups, and easy to peel off the finished bell.
  • Spraying the foil lined pots/cups with cooking spray worked great, but they peeled off just as easy without it!
  • Coat hanger wire was too heavy; lighter weight craft wire was easier to bend, shape, and twist onto the tree limbs. Be sure to form a loop at the end, and bend it parallel to the top of the bell, fill, and sink the loop slightly into the mix. This keeps the wire from pulling out.
  • To make big seed blocks for wire suet feeders, just line a oven or microwave rectangular container with aluminum foil, mix your seeds or seed, nut, fruit combo with the beaten egg whites, bake at 225 degrees for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours, and unmold while still warm.

Bird Cereal

From: Peg, Legend Lake, WI

  • Mix 2 C crushed cheerios with 2 C bird seed.
  • Add 1 1/4 cup honey and stir until mixture is wet throughout but not soggy. (Add honey gradually to achieve this.) Corn syrup can also be used in place of the honey.
  • Pour onto cookie sheet and spread out.
  • Bake at 225 for 40-45 minutes.
  • Halfway through cooking, score with a knife so it is easier to cut when baked.

Hint from Louise, Southern Alabama:

Use Christmas cookie cutters to cut the mix into shapes when it is about half baked, put holes in some and wires in some.

Kary’s Squirrel Cottage Cookies

From: Catherine, Carlisle, Ohio

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (toasted almonds, salted peanuts, walnuts, or pecans)
  • 1/2 cup white cornmeal

Heat oven to 350 F. Cream butter, sugar, and egg together. Stir in flour and nuts and mix well.

Shape into balls the size of small walnuts; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Place cornmeal in a small bowl. Dip the bottom of a drinking glass into the bowl, then flatten dough balls with bottom of glass. With a straw, make a hole near the center of each cookie.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Place cookies on a rack to cool. String twine or thread through holes and hang cookies from branches. (You could also cut a leafless tree branch, stick it into a crock filled with sand, and hang cookies on the bare twigs.)

Bird/Dog Biscuits

From: Cristina, The Swan Valley, Montana

Dog biscuits

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tablespoons shortening or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup liquid (choose water, chicken, beef or tuna broth, pureed veggies)

Combine dry ingredients except sugar in large bowl. Cut in shortening until it resembles dry oatmeal. Beat the sugar with the egg and add to bowl. Add the liquid you choose gradually and mix in, forming a stiff dough. Knead on a floured surface until pliable. Roll to 1/4 inch and cut with cookie or biscuit cutters (for fun use kitty, bone, dog, people, and heart shaped cutters). Bake at 350 degrees until light brown (about 30 minutes).

Bird Biscuits

Make as above, except:

  • omit the powdered milk (I never heard of birds consuming milk)
  • when shaping cookies, be sure to put a hole in each cookie for hanging
  • bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (so they come out softer and are easier for the birds to peck)