19 March 2024

The Drawing Board

Store-bought hot (cayenne pepper) birdseed shapes can be pretty darned pricey, but they are doing a great job of keeping most mammals away from my birdfeeders. I thought I'd try making my own.

I looked up a few recipes, boiled some water, dissolved the gelatin, poured the mixture in my emptied yogurt container, then stirred in lots of cayenne pepper and a couple of cups of bird seed. I used a plastic knife to "drill" a hole down the center of the pressed seeds for both my first and second attempts so the final product might fit on the feeder my sister-in-law gifted me two years ago. Stir, chill, then cut off plastic yogurt container and hang.

My first attempt wasn't too successful in holding its shape, but the birds don't mind.

Neighborhood squirrels don't care much for the crumbled cayenne-pepper-soaked seed chunks I deliberately spilled on the retaining wall to test the tastebuds of my wildlife visitors. Each day, I watch squirrels taste and then abandon the spilled seeds. Three days after the shaped mess crumbled on me, most of the seed chunks still remained on the retaining wall, which means overnight raccoons aren't biting into it, either. One sleepless night, Lizard watched the deer briefly sniff and then walk away from the spilled seed and not even sniff the feeders. I guess they turned their peppered noses up at my free food!

I went back and re-read a bunch of blog posts about making your own birdseed ornaments and found one who had the same problem as me. Melting messes. I can't remember the name of the blogger now, but she recommended letting the cookie-cutter-shaped ornaments she was making as Christmas gifts for loved ones cure longer, perhaps a week or more. I can do that.

No, that's not spaghetti sauce! It's two tablespoons of cayenne pepper!

So I tried again. This time, I have a bit more self-confidence, and I added in a few nuts and raisins, as I'm still hoping to attract blue jays nesting right now in our area. I'm still going to have to keep a sharp eye out for bears, because I do not think for even one minute the cayenne pepper is going to be a deterrent to them at all. After first bear sighting, which could come any day now, I'll probably be done feeding the birds until November. Darn it. But if my second DIY seed shape works, perhaps I have a less-expensive great winter of birdwatching season on the horizon!

1 comment :

  1. Wow, those things are expensive. This is a great solution. May the squirrels never develop a taste for spicy food!


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