In this week's At Home with Martin & Sylvia story, “A Better Bird Feeder,” brother and sister are curious why bird feeders look the way they do. They don’t look like anything in the natural world. Why would birds be drawn to them? Momma suggests they take a nature walk and study how birds eat, and then, perhaps, design a better bird feeder. Martin and Sylvia enthusiastically take up the challenge, but they meet with unexpected trouble: squirrels!
Whoever coined the phrase “eating like a bird” to mean “not eating much at all” must not have studied many birds.
Because they're almost constantly moving, birds need all the food they can get. A typical chickadee can eat 35% of its weight in food each day, or even more when it's cold out. A hummingbird can, literally, eat its own weight in nectar, and that's after an appetizer of a few thousand tiny insects.
There's only one other species that I'm convinced can hold a candle to birds in the realm of eating — human children.
“Mom, can I please have something to eat?” is a phrase I hear at least once an hour during the waking day. It's hard to find anything that will satisfy the maw of my growing children's stomachs for long, but these energy bites have been a good contender.
The combination of peanut butter and nuts provides a one-two punch of protein and satisfying fats that help my little birds keep flying happily. And the honey and maple make them a bit of a treat, too. Feel free to substitute other nuts and seeds—or other nut butters, even—but do keep the ratios about the same. Lastly, these will keep for at least a few weeks in the fridge, so go ahead and double the recipe so that your “bird feeder” is never left empty!
Bird Seed Energy Bites
(makes about 10)
5 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons water
Pour the pumpkin seeds into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse 3-4 times to just barely chop them. Add the rest of the ingredients, then allow the food processor to mix for about 45 seconds. When the ingredients are well combined, pinch out a small amount of the mixture and try to form it into a ball. If the mixture is too crumbly, add just a little more water and process for an additional 10 seconds or so.
Use a spoon to measure the mixture into about 10 equal, golf-ball sized bites. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet or plate, and chill for at least an hour before enjoying.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.