Sorting out suet
A few weeks ago, writing about suet for the birds, I offhandedly mentioned that you could render your own, plopping chunks of suet in boiling water. That way you could make your own suet cakes.
I tried it. Not the best idea. Takes forever.
Further exploration on the internet: Grind the suet into tiny pieces in your food processor before boiling it, to speed the process. No mention was made of cleaning up the greasy mess.
Also: Simply put the suet in a pan in the oven, no mention of possible resulting bad odor, a warning I found on yet another site.
Final decision: The birds at our feeders have done just fine for years with raw suet chunks. I assume that will not change.
Cardinals eat suet
Sunday morning we watched a cardinal eating suet, pulling it from our feeder log. Best way to present it for cardinals, though, is in small chunks. It is on their menu.
Merlin ID app now free
Some time ago I reviewed an iPhone bird identification app called Merlin. It was the best ID app available then. It's better now. And, it's free.
Merlin is being used by 2 million birders, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, creator of this marvel. ID information for 7,500 bird species is available. You can have North America in total, or by region. You can have dozens of foreign countries.
You get text, photos, video, recordings, ability to store your checklists, and on and on.
Download it from the Apple. It requires iOS 11.0 or later. It's compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. As many as six family members can use this app with Family Sharing enabled. It is available in English and eight other languages.
Cornell says improvements and additions are coming in February.
Did I mention that it's all free?